21 October, 2019

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Professionals On Political & Constitutional Crisis: Present Seven Demands To Break The Current Deadlock 

A statement by a group of professionals on the current constitutional and political crisis presented seven demands to bring back normalcy to the country.

They called upon

1. President Sirisena to forthwith revoke the Prorogation, to facilitate the immediate resolution of this crisis through Parliament;

2. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to forthwith convene Parliament, to facilitate the immediate resolution of this crisis through Parliament;

3. All government leaders and MPs to abide by, and not to transgress, the principles and provisions of the Constitution.

4. All political leaders, to ensure that violence and unrest are prevented;

5. All Members of Parliament, to ensure that they vote in accordance with the mandate the People have granted them, and not in consideration of financial or other benefits offered;

6. All public servants, to ensure that they do not obey any instructions granted by unconstitutionally appointed persons, and that they uphold the Constitution and the rule of law;

7. The Inspector General of Police and the Armed Forces, to ensure that in carrying out their duties, they act in a non-partisan manner, and strictly in accordance with the Constitution and the rule of law.

The full statement issued by the group is as follows:

Statement on the Constitutional Crisis

Recent actions of President Maithripala Sirisena purporting to remove Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe from office as the Prime Minister and the purported appointment of Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place have caused a constitutional and political crisis.

As professionals who value and defend constitutional democracy, we consider it our duty to explain to the citizens the correct constitutional position on this issue.

The Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution is one of the success stories of the ‘100 day programme’ of the UNF-UPFA unity government. Both President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremasinghe jointly gave political leadership to its enactment in Parliament by a two-thirds majority. The 1978 Constitution, as amended by the Nineteenth Amendment, is the only constitutional document that should govern the actions of Sri Lanka’s President with regard to the Prime Minister.

According to the Constitution as it presently stands, once a Prime Minister is appointed, his/her office will be vacated only in limited instances i.e. resignation, ceasing to be a Member of Parliament (Article 46), OR where he is removed by virtue of the dissolution of Cabinet which will automatically occur upon the defeat of the Statement of Government Policy or the Appropriation Bill, or upon a motion of no-confidence being passed against the Government (Article 48).

As the objective of the Nineteenth Amendment was to move towards a Parliamentary democracy, the Nineteenth Amendment expressly repealed the power of the President to remove the Prime Minister that existed under provisions of the original 1978 Constitution and its 18th Amendment.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has not resigned or ceased to be a Member of Parliament. Neither has dissolution of Cabinet occurred (as there was no defeat of the Statement of Government Policy or the Appropriation Bill, and as no motion of no-confidence was passed against the Government).

There are suggestions that the Cabinet of Ministers stood dissolved upon the UPFA leaving the National Government. However, this argument too does not hold water. Unlike Article 48 which specifically refers to the dissolution of the Cabinet of Ministers in specified situations, the provisions relating to a National Government entail no such consequences. Thus even upon the discontinuance of a National Government (which is a matter for Parliament to decide on), the only consequence will be that the Constitutional ceiling on the number of Ministers will become operative.

Also, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed Prime Minister on 21 August 2015, before the National Government was formed, by the President as the Member of Parliament who in his opinion is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament after the United National Party won the highest number of seats at the General Elections held on 17 August 2015.

In any event, it would appear that the National Government continues, since the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, which was an initial partner of the National Government, remains a partner thereof. 

In the absence of a vacancy in the office of Prime Minister, the attempt by President Sirisena to remove Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and to install Mahinda Rajapaksa MP in that office is both undemocratic and unconstitutional.

The resultant constitutional crisis could most appropriately have been dealt within Parliament, by a floor test. In fact, the proper constitutional course of action would have been to have demonstrated in Parliament by vote, an absence of confidence in Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and the Government PRIOR to President Sirisena embarking on his present course of action.

However, far from permitting Parliament to resolve this issue, President Sirisena has embarked on a further undemocratic step of proroguing Parliament, thus attempting to prevent Parliament from debating and resolving the matter, and perhaps paving the way to facilitate cross-overs. As Speaker Karu Jayasuriya’s letter demonstrates, the prorogation was proclaimed in breach of Parliamentary traditions, as the Speaker had not been consulted prior to the prorogation.

Leaving this crucial constitutional issue unresolved in Parliament will result in further aggravating the political, economic and social crisis.

We therefore call upon:

  1. President Sirisena to forthwith revoke the Prorogation, to facilitate the immediate resolution of this crisis through Parliament;
  2. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to forthwith convene Parliament, to facilitate the immediate resolution of this crisis through Parliament;
  3. All government leaders and MPs to abide by, and not to transgress, the principles and provisions of the Constitution.
  4. All political leaders, to ensure that violence and unrest are prevented;
  5. All Members of Parliament, to ensure that they vote in accordance with the mandate the People have granted them, and not in consideration of financial or other benefits offered;
  6. All public servants, to ensure that they do not obey any instructions granted by unconstitutionally appointed persons, and that they uphold the Constitution and the rule of law;
  7. The Inspector General of Police and the Armed Forces, to ensure that in carrying out their duties, they act in a non-partisan manner, and strictly in accordance with the Constitution and the rule of law.

Prof. Jayadeva Uyangoda, Professor Emeritus, University of Colombo

Prof. Vijaya Kumar, Professor Emeritus, University of Peradeniya

Prof. Kumar David, Professor Emeritus, University of Hong Kong

Prof. Gamini Keerawella, Professor Emeritus, University of Peradeniya

Prof. Navaratne Bandara, Retired Senior Professor, University of Peradeniya

Prof. Jayantha Seneviratne, University of Kelaniya

Prof. Sumathy Sivamohan, University of Peradeniya

Prof. Upul Abeyratne, University of Peradeniya

Prof. Chandraguptha Thenuwara, University of the Visual and Performing Arts

Dr. Upatissa Pethiyagoda

Upul Jayasuriya, President’s Counsel

J.C. Weliamuna, President’s Counsel

Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne, President’s Counsel

Nissanka Nanayakkara, President’s Counsel

Rajan Philips, Political Critic

Dr Lionel Bopage

Dr. Ananda Galappatti

Lal Wijenayake, Attorney-at-Law

Tissa Jayatilaka

Chandra Jayaratne

Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

Dr. Asanga Welikala, University of Edinburgh

Ameer Faaiz, Attorney-at-Law

Pujitha De Mel, Lecturer, University of Colombo

Mrs. Chamantha Weerakoon, Attorney-at-Law

Danesh Casie Chetty, former diplomat

Lux Jothikumar, Attorney-at-Law

Viran Corea, Attorney-at-Law

Ravi Jayawardana, Attorney-at-Law

Thishya Weragoda, Attorney-at-Law

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Latest comments

  • 6
    9

    Looking at the list of names, the reader will be surprised by CT’s reference to them as “a group of professional”.

    Pakiyasothy Saravanamuttu and Weliamuna may be “professionals”, but in a specific sense (of extracting US$ and Euros from colonisers), not in any other sense.

    The title needs to be changed to read “Vested interests” On Political & Constitutional Crisis: Present Seven Demands To Break The Current Deadlock

    Thank you..

    • 2
      4

      What a silly bunch, obsessed by constitutional legalese and procedures, when the constitution is part of the problem rather than solution to the present crisis!

      The call should be for a General Election asap. as Bondscam Ranil and MR who RW protected these past 3 years have turned the Parliament into a Hub of Corruption with their horse trade deals, duty free SUV bribes with funds looted from Central Bank of Lanka to benefit Japanese business and Toyota Company!

    • 0
      1

      if the bastard like Sarath weerasekera can be called professinal any dockey can be a professional

    • 0
      1

      Proof Reader
      I was just calling one of the signatories on the same point and asked why they didn’t collect signatures of Chatura Senaratne’s and mine.
      Some of the signatories are Hypocrites , lairs worst than Chatura S.

  • 4
    7

    The govt knows what to do with this letter from a bunch of notorious anti Sinhala people.Most of them have already shown their true political colours by remaining silent on the Indefinite postponement of Provincial Council elections. Some of them are NGO kakkas and their views are anti Sri Lankan

  • 5
    2

    Hope it’s in Sinhalese,otherwise this is like cashewnut case
    He behave like a Dictator
    He even don’t bother about RW life white vans are patrolling and he reduce the security personnel from 1000 to 100. He may trying to plot

  • 1
    1

    wannihamy, Hela, KASMaalam ……………. all b***s carriers

    Please watch
    NDTV Exclusive: Sri Lanka’s ‘Deposed’ PM Speaks Out
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgFqFB707aw

  • 3
    2

    This is a rather silly statement, since the parliament is a Hub, or Cesspit of Corruption, cultivated by Bondscam Ranil and Mahinda Jarapassa.
    These guys should have asked to dissolve parliament and hold a General Election. People are fed up with Bondscam Ranil AND MR and his corrupt family.
    General elections are needed to ensure that younger people who are clean take over and clean the mess in Sri Lanka, as this current generation of doddering politicians have ruined the country.
    New elections should be held after a law establishing a cut off age of 68 years for any politician to contest.
    Also, the Constitution and its endless making and breaking game, as much as the long drawn de-limitation projects are part of the problem and not a solution to the political-economic crisis rooted in the Culture of Impunity and Immunity for Financial Crimes and Hate Crimes by politicians. Both Bondscam Ranil and Rajapaksas must be held accountable.

  • 1
    3

    Professionals making unprofessional request? alas!

  • 2
    1

    I hope this is translated into Sinhala & Tamil as well.

  • 6
    0

    The demands of the group Professionals on constitutional crisis are absolutely reasonable and justifiable. Moreover, the religious dignitaries whoever it is, should not participate and stand as neutral. Country’s future should gain priority.

    • 0
      0

      Ayathurey Rajasigham: they shou;d have added Tamil homeland, rights of Tamils, self determination and eelam to that demand

  • 2
    1

    I wish these Gentleman, most of whom I had known personally had forwarded this a bit earlier.A FEW HORSE-DEALS HAD ALSO BEEN FINALISED.
    Anyway my hats off .Covers the issue most comprehensively.

  • 1
    0

    Dr Dayan…where is your signature?

  • 0
    0

    Why do some people try to drag PC election postponement into the current problem. PC postponement rightly or wrongly happened with the blessings of Sirisena

  • 2
    2

    It is hard to believe that this group of NGO thieves (professionals or not), seem to believe that they still have credibility in this country.

    People have had a gutful of the yahapalanaya they promised, in the form of Central Bank robbery, and no PC elections and worsening poverty. .They tried to sneak in a federal constitution and produced worst corrupt, autocratic NGO agents like Viyangoda and Rathnapriya.

    Now they have the bloody gaul to appeal for an extension of the same corruption?

    No, we don’t need these professionals or their corrupt yahapalanaya. We have had enough.

    • 0
      1

      This is HMV recording( His Master’s Voice) This Vedda will never be able to form his own opinion on anything.He will forever lick the boots of his master, who, In this case, is MR

  • 1
    0

    Dear Author and all participants,
    There is lot more the outside world knows about Sri Lankas politics than the innocent voters know. The poor voters who carry all the burden of the notorious and bureaucratic Leaders are still not aware their leaders are enacting a drama as usual not only to hoodwink the innocent voters but also to hoodwink the rest of the world in a bid to fill their own coffers. It might work again in their favor.

  • 0
    1

    This is HMV recording( His Master’s Voice) This Vedda will never be able to form his own opinion on anything.He will forever lick the boots of his master, who, In this case, is MR

  • 0
    0

    The advice from the professionals are condescending pontifications. Issued from an ivory tower?

    First advice: The horse trading took just three days – Haggling on prices!

    Second advice: It is not a crisis. It is a coup.

    Third advice: Surely not in the culture of corruption/nepotism/impunity.

    Fourth advice: This is done because the victims will be themselves.

    Fifth advice: Ever found a wet goose? Water just falls off the feathers.

    Sixth advice: Lankan public service have been buggered. Redemption is a dream.

    Seventh advice: There are reasons to believe that the Lankan Armed Services are cheering one of the teams in the ‘home vs home finals.

  • 0
    0

    I heard CT had been paid handsomely for writing to the flame the Arab spring. Upul Jayasooriya as BOI CHairman is one who tried to bring $ 2 billion investment monehy from a companyand bankrupt Sri lanka. IS this going to be out as out of the comments policy of CT.

  • 1
    0

    I know some of these professionals are friendly with both Mahinda Rajapakse and Ranil wickramsinghe becuse that contacts give them contracts. It is all money.

  • 1
    0

    I thought the GMOA would be on top of any Professional List.
    Because they are the real Professionals in Srilanka.
    Some of the names there haven’t had a real Profession for years..
    Unless one counts the amount of money they make by providing Professional Services to the International NGOs…

    BTW I didn’t know that being an ex JVP Boss makes you a Professional….

    • 0
      0

      Please focus on the message, not on the messenger

  • 0
    0

    AND if the demands .are not met, what would you do ?
    1. Go on strike ? Hee Ha Ha hee hee!
    2. Overthrow the govt by force? Hee hah hah
    3. Go back to sleep and dream of a RAnil victory?
    Senile decay is destroying your minds you old poofters.

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