4 April, 2020

Blog

Ranil’s Flimsy, Strange & Untested Constitutional Theories?  

By Laksiri Fernando –

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Have you heard about the Orange Book Liberal, Nick Clegg? He is in our constitution, stealthily creeped in through the 19th Amendment in Article 70. Luckily most strange (or Orange) theories are still in Ranil Wickremesinghe’s (RW) head, not in the constitution.  

Can you remember he (RW) touted the idea of an Executive Prime Minister system in late 1990s? He did that based on the system in Israel at that time (1992-2003), but then Israel themselves changed the idea, after disastrous results. Nevertheless he continued with the idea and tried his best to implant some of the elements through the 19th Amendment. 

RW says that the “constitution doesn’t make provisions for personal prejudices,” an insinuation aimed at Maithripala Sirisena (MS). He only wants the constitution to work for his personal interests.  

RW’s Hindu Interview  

The recent most evidence of these strange orange theories is in the interview RW has given to The Hindu correspondent, Meera Srinivasan yesterday (reproduced in ‘The Island’ today, 9 November 2018).  The following is the key paragraph from the report. 

“Mr. Wikremesinghe, who has pegged his chances entirely to a floor test, has ruled out a court appeal on the matter, citing the Parliament’s “supreme judicial powers.” Reiterating the position, he said: “Even if you go to court they send will you back to parliament on this matter. We are different from yours [Indian context].”  

According to RW, ‘we are different to the Indian democracy,’ not because of Sri Lanka’s presidential system, but because of his ‘imaginary parliamentary supremacy’ and subordination of the judiciary to it. Parliamentary supremacy was there in the 1972 constitution, yet subordinated to the sovereignty of the people, but not in the 1978 constitution even after the 19th Amendment. 

There is nothing particularly wrong in pegging his or any other’s political chances entirely on the floor test. But if he wanted to question or challenge the constitutionality of his dismissal, he should have gone before the Supreme Court.  

RW and his supporters, also in the ‘civil society’ sector, are obviously expressing an understandable political disappointment or despair on the Prime Minister’s dismissal by the President. But that is not a constitutional argument. According to Articles 125 of the constitution, “The Supreme Court shall have sole and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine any question relating to the interpretation of the Constitution…” That is the right place to go without creating instability and chaos. 

This is the matter that Ranil Wickremesinghe has shied away from ‘The Hindu’ interview, lamely saying “We are different from yours.” That is not true. In respect of the interpretation of the constitution, the role of the Judiciary, and the importance and independence of the judiciary, we are the same as India. RW or his supporters cannot snatch that judicial powers from the Supreme Court saying “we are different.”  

He has taken matters to himself (a lawyer of course) also saying “Even if you go to court they will send you back to parliament.” How does he know? Why does he hesitate? Why not test? Why create instability, chaos, now violence in the country instead?  

Role of the Speaker 

There are other strange and untested constitutional theories that have been put forward by several sections of society regarding the ‘role of the Speaker’ and related matters. First, they objected to the President’s dismissal of Ranil Wickremesinghe. Then they started lamenting about his prorogation of Parliament as unconstitutional, the accusation which had no basis at all, although one could claim it is not ideally democratic. 

But what was most strange and even purely unconstitutional was to ask the Speaker to ‘convene Parliament forthwith,’ although the President was also asked to revoke the prorogation forthwith. This was there in the so-called statement by ‘Professionals on Constitutional and Political Crisis’ (Colombo Telegraph, 2 November 2018). These people are apparently not independent. Some of them are paid employees and legal advisors to RW. Some others have financial stakes in former government’s projects. 

The origin of the idea that the Speaker has power (over President) in respect of convening Parliament is basically a RW’s orange theory. This is what ‘The Hindu’ reported: “The Parliament’s power is supreme and that is what the Speaker has upheld,’ he [RW] said, referring to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya’s statement on Monday.” 

It is on this theory that the Speaker attempted to convene Parliament on 7 November, but failed. Testing this possibility, he also issued a strong statement on 5 November, the main unconstitutional or controversial elements of the statement are as follows. 

It is my duty as Speaker to summon Parliament by 7th November and restore stability in the country [!]. I consider it as the duty of His Excellency the President too to extend his support to me towards this end.” 

It is very clear that he was trying to take over the powers of convening Parliament from the President, based on RW’s theory that Parliament is supreme. This is what the so-called professionals, also quite unprofessionally asked the Speaker to do. In his statement, the Speaker also tried to assert the power ‘to restore stability in the country,’ which is clearly a task of the President. He also asked the President to extend support to him, quite arrogantly.     

Arab Spring? 

It appears that these people were or are attempting an ‘Arab Spring’ in Sri Lanka. They failed once on the 7th because the Secretary General of Parliament or other public servants did not want to heed the unconstitutional orders of the Speaker. They also didn’t have the people’s support. The proposers or the instigators themselves were hesitant. 

They might attempt it again. It is well known that Arab Spring was a disastrous process of regime change through violence and extra-constitutional means supported by certain sections of the ‘international community.’ Various statements and activities by some Western countries are of quite suspicious under these circumstances. The ultimate aim of Arab Springs appeared to be to destabilize the developing countries in the Middle East and North Africa, but also attempted elsewhere to achieve the same objectives. 

The Speakers statement on 5 November have major constitutional implications. Other than trying to convene Parliament on his own, he was also trying to determine who is the Prime Minister on his own. This is again a RW’s orange theory that he had picked from several neoliberal in Britain (Nick Clegg, David Laws, Edward Davey etc.).  They are almost nonexistent in politics today. The Speaker’s following statement is quite unwarranted and in defiance of the President. 

I wish to emphasize that I am compelled to accept the status that existed previously [RW as PM] until such time that they [UNP] and the new political alliance [Sirisena and Rajapaksa] prove their majority in Parliament,” he said. 

Nick Clegg and Article 70 

Given the uncertain political situation in Parliament after the collapse of the National (Unity) Government, and the subsequent volatile situation in the country, the advisability of going directly before the people have been proposed and discussed by many people. I myself suggested that it might be the best option available (‘Evolving Disaster: Agreeing to call for election might be the best option’). Because people are the supreme and sovereign, and an election could defuse the uncertain situation. 

Again the dissolution of Parliament is a matter for the President under our constitution. However, then you confront Article 70 which says the following. 

“(1) The President may by Proclamation, summon, prorogue and dissolve Parliament: Provided that the President shall not dissolve Parliament until the expiration of a period of not less than four years and six months from the date appointed for its first meeting, unless Parliament requests the President to do so by a resolution passed by not less than two-thirds of the whole number of Members (including those not present), voting in its favour.”         

What is the connection between this Article 70 and Nick Clegg? With due respect to him, he was the person, then Deputy Prime Minister of UK, who proposed and got through the ‘Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011’ same as Article 70. Of course he is not responsible for the Sri Lankan folly, unless someone in the UK advised RW to include it in the 19th Amendment. 

What is wrong with this article or the fixed term? In my opinion, it is not suitable to a country like Sri Lanka which should have more flexibility given the country’s still evolving democracy. In the case of UK, it was introduced after some discussion and study. In the case of Sri Lanka, it was done arbitrarily and stealthily. The Fixed-term Act in the UK tried to prevent a PM trying to arbitrarily dissolve Parliament, by advising the Queen to do so. But in the case of Sri Lanka, RW tried to prevent the President dissolving Parliament, without his or party’s advice. Or perhaps it was just an imitation whatever our former British colonial masters were doing! 

There is a clear flimsy character for the way the 19th Amendment was formulated and the way the economic policies and other policy matters were handled by RW and his clique. It is completely wrong for the President to talk about ‘Butterflies,’ if he meant LGBT communities. However there was definitely a flimsy character for whatever RW and his clique were doing. The correct word would have been not ‘Samanala’ but ‘Sarwapithala’ to mean flimsy or bogus. 

Conclusion  

The 19th Amendment is one of the clearest root causes of the present crisis. Many aspects (not all) were based on some flimsy theories and premises. Although RW has argued that personal prejudices have no place in the constitution, his personal interests have been built into the system. It has attempted, but has failed to install presidential powers to the Prime Minister. 

Even in respect of Independent Commissions, while there is some progress from the 18th Amendment, the attempt was made to keep a political hegemony of the ruling party in the Constitutional Council. The constitutional council is also not an appropriate term and CC is not at all about the constitution. 

Most alarming are the contractions, ‘cut and paste,’ the failures in doing so, and disparities between the Sinhala, the Tamil and the English versions. The current controversies or different interpretations about the President’s powers to dismiss a Prime Minister are also largely due to these fundamental weaknesses of the 19th Amendment, apart from political biases. Let me conclude this article by highlighting the contradictions on the matter of the dissolution of Parliament. Whatever said in Article 70 in respect of fixed term of the Parliament, Article 33 (2) unequivocally says: 

In addition to the powers, duties and functions expressly conferred or imposed on, or assigned to the President by the Constitution or other written law, the President shall have the power, (a)  to make the Statement of Government Policy in Parliament at the commencement of each session of Parliament; (b) to preside at ceremonial sittings of Parliament; (c)  to summon, prorogue and dissolve Parliament; …” 

What a contradiction between the two! The power “to summon, prorogue and dissolve Parliament” here is quite unequivocal, whatever the views, opinions or ‘despair,’ you and me have on the situation. 

It is also Article 33 (2) (c), namely “to make the Statement of Government Policy in Parliament at the commencement of each session of Parliament” that the Speaker and the Arab Spring advocates are trying to block on 14 November, when the Parliament is summoned on President’s gazette notification. This is not a matter for the Standing Orders, but part of the Constitution.  

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Latest comments

  • 49
    18

    by supporting MS in this political coup you are going to lose your respect, academic credit and credential. Moreover, you are going to be one of anti-constitutional supporters. It is not all about Ranil or UNP or Mahinda or SLFP. it is all about rule of law, democratic traditions, constitutional check and balance .
    if the countries falls into anarchy, you will be one of who supported coup..
    Shame on you to write in support of coup.

    • 34
      8

      This man Laksiri is becoming unbelievable… All these one sided stories, views suddenly come out because RW refused to do a personal favour to this [Edited out]

      • 18
        3

        Crtique,

        This particular elderly Prof. was one to have agreed upon at the time CMBO university was awarding doctorate title to Rajapakshe brothers.

        This particular elderly Prof was the one who stood against MR in 2015 artculating all what he could to show that high profile crimes committed by Rajapakshe adminstration.

        This particular elderly Prof is repeating him to have stayed several countries where Law and order is placed above anything else, but obviously seems tohave not learnt the least.
        This particular elderly Prof is for some reasons, have been very angered by UNP govt, may well be his personal vendetta with RW or few others, but is obvioulsy bleieving lanken press that stood all along to paint the picture in favour of Sirisena albeit the man was the main problem of RW-MS govt not to have achieved what they aimed at in that govt

        This particular elderly Prof now has been doing the same, not thinking twice, but just being upset by aforementioned thoughts as is the case with the average mind set, not looking at the danger of the country is fallen into.

        With all resecpt to you as an elderly scholar, I beg you to see it in big picture. Do you think that it is fair lankens to be led by Mahinda Rajaapkshe again ?
        Cant you Dr Fernando sense it right at this highly critical juncture of lanken politics, that all is in water, if we the people would not make every effort to protect Democracy and basic human rights ? Why just you try to sit with them at this very critcal turning point of lankens, this way ? totally neglecting for what we have to fight rightly ?

      • 2
        0

        Prof Laksiri, can you ever come up to the standard of Skandakumar, a gentleman of high integrity and efficiency who is the current High Commissioner in Australia. It is a pity that when Ranil refused to give you the post, you start attacking him. I will not be surprised if MS/MR will recall Skandakumar and appoint you in the post for this dastardly action of yours. Hang your head in shame for stooping to this low level.

    • 9
      26

      Critique

      It’s you who’s partial towards former (corrupt) govt. of RW.

      President has power to prorogue the parliament it’s the president who convenes the parliament, not the speaker.

      There’s no parliamentary tradition or law to call for vote to confirm the support base for the PM on the day of convening. The power base is to be displayed otherwise, not directly.

      MPs should not act to make foreign counties or group of foreign countries happy.

    • 25
      6

      “Ranil’s Flimsy, Strange & Untested Constitutional Theories?”

      Says the great academic who conferred PhDs on Mahinda and Gota …………. Lasanth’s murderer and a crazed serial-killer

      Thanks Laksiri for your impeccable impartiality

      I hope at least you get to be the gardener or the driver in the SL consulate in Australia ………. as usual the ambassadorship is reserved for Mahinda’s family

      What would Lankan academics be if they had even a modicum of shame or self-respect?

      Do they always have to be this crass?

      Is it too much to ask for a little class?

      • 9
        3

        Nimal F,
        “What would Lankan academics be if they had even a modicum of shame or self-respect?”
        There wouldn’t be that many of them in that case. Also, they would have written an ironclad constitution which even opportunist “professors ” from Australia couldn’t argue with.
        Incompetence is rife in the country. Some have even managed to migrate abroad. Good luck to those countries.

    • 17
      5

      Laksirispray has now become bogus Dr and public racist Dayan Silva’s [edited out]. He is looking forward to joining him in Moscow as Deputy!

    • 25
      6

      critique,
      Laksiri already lost his respect, academic and credential by accepting Mahinda as PM (who is a criminal). Laksiri is not an expert on constitutional matters. Further whether it is constitutional or not there is moral duty to protect the image of the nation. Sirisena was not open to people and still trying to buy MPs for money. Further his recent statement regarding the North and East merger and Federalism shows he wanted a bloodbath of Tamils. Sinhala Fundamentalist always used this method to come to power. I am very sorry to see Dr Laksiri as a Buddhist Fundamentalist.

    • 11
      3

      Dr. Laksiri Fernando

      RE: Ranil’s Flimsy, Strange & Untested Constitutional Theories?

      Did a big bolus of dollars come your way?

      Why not write the common sense pamphlet, just like Thomas Pain of 1775, who did that America, when the dictatorship of the King prevailed? That will help improve mean IQ of 79 of the people. the politicians. many other including the Gamarala

  • 29
    7

    Dr Laksiri, yours is just one voice among the many discussing the pros and cons of this coup.
    However it is obvious that your article is biased towards the Mahinda and Sirisena camp since you have conferred PhDs on MR and his brother. Simple as that.

    • 22
      2

      Aelaj,
      Until now I didn’t know that Laksiri was involved with conferring PhD’s for MR & Gota. I am sure his offer PhD’s is for massacring over 50000 Tamils and the murder of 17 Journalists and for the generation of wealth for Mahinda Family robbing this country. I hate those people who sell the valuable eduction for such criminal purposes.

  • 22
    4

    Pseudo political scientist.

    • 27
      3

      critique, Aelajo, Anpu ………………..

      Many liberals in these forums thought and made themselves comfortable with the presence of Laksiri Fernando being their man in CT.
      It later transpired that their man in CT is actually Clan’s man among liberals.

      Well this is what the old Sri Lankan Trotskyites become in their old age, vanguards of extreme nationalism, bordering fascism, …. .

      • 19
        1

        Thank you NV. You put it nicely “Well this is what the old Sri Lankan Trotskyites become in their old age, vanguards of extreme nationalism, bordering fascism, …. .”

      • 14
        2

        I think Prof. Jayadeva Uyangoda is a real political scientist. What do you think NV?

      • 5
        0

        You should shut up I think for the safety of the Halgolla clan. Don’t forget you are sitting on stolen land and guard your mouth.

      • 4
        0

        You should shut up I think for the safety of the Halgolla clan.

        Don’t forget you are sitting on stolen land and guard your mouth.

  • 19
    2

    Dr L fernando it is not surprising to hear these nonsense from you after knowing you are the one who proposed MG and Gota for doctorate honor at the UoC senate. You are that sort of a fellow. When the tide stsarted changing you proposed removal of that honor. If MS and MR are saying they have the majority let them just open the parliament and go for a vote. I am sure you are going to change your stance when MR is anyway thrown out. It is because of people like you that this country is in a real mess. Jokers like you must be advising gamarala

  • 21
    2

    The root cause of the present political crisis is not the 19th Amendment, but the mental state of Hopperman Sira. He’s clearly insane. The constitution has provision for the impeachment of a mad president. That should be the priority of the parliament – if the wacko doesn’t dissolve it. The writer himself is the quintessential Sarwapithala he’s talking about. His advice will only push the dingbat Sira over the edge.

  • 10
    2

    Does any of the “PMs” and president understand Buddhist philosophy? Do they practice Buddhism?

    • 6
      0

      Anpu, One cannot Practise Buddhism;
      It is not a Religion like Christianity or Islam, where a God is Worshipped!

      The Buddha’s Dhamma has to be ‘Lived’, according to His Teaching!

    • 2
      2

      ANPU: FO RNeo-Liberals buddhism is a prohibitive word. They say practice buddhism but Bhikkus are terrorists and the buddhist culture should be desteroyed.

  • 17
    1

    This guy is another turncoat who has suddenly come out of the woods in support of MS. Dont be surprised if he ends up as an advisor to the deplorable group of rogues who are now in the MS- MR group. Sri Lanka has an abundance of this type of vermin who blow with the wind and bow down to the crumbs offered. Not sure what LFs credentials are but if he is a lawyer then he has completely missed the point or deliberately is trying to hoodwink the masses. The intent of the 19th A was to reduce the powers of the President, prevent the Prick from sacking the PM or dissolving parliament at his whim and fancy. All this poppycock written by this idiot should be ignored. The right place for it the toilet pan.

  • 15
    0

    You are justifying the way that Mr.president has done. We can argue for ever about what implies by the certain sentence in the constitution. But the matter is bad practice of democracy by the president. He would have done this in a democratic way by convene the parliament. Because UNP won the majority in 2015 for next five years. Now he is misusing the constitution for ruin the good political practices in the country.

  • 10
    0

    …what my country is going thru is all about right and wrong, than about ** ** ** constitutional theories. MY3 is an idiot. But we the people for some sad reason had to place him where he is. May be we belived idiots go mad less readily than the smart. Boy didn’t that calculation misfire… !!!!

  • 10
    1

    Looks like now Laksiri has taken over the job done by Dayan before? At the end, must be a member of the SLFP.

  • 12
    0

    Native.
    Strange but true. Trotskyites in their old age end up as whitevanguards of not only extreme nationalism ,but also as fascists.
    Gota, of course had all these attributes in his salad days!

  • 2
    9

    Could we separate personalities from these arguments? Laksiri’s point is about the powers of the President of the country to dismiss the Prime Minister of the country who is appointed by the President as per the constitution of the country. He also argues that the President has that power under circumstances outlined in the constitution. He goes on to say the 19th Amendment has many flaws. Could the learned commentators counter these contentions if they feel the President has acted unconstitutionally?

    • 6
      1

      Outsider
      You are right. We Srilankans are good at attacking the messenger than the message.
      But, have you read what kalu bokke’s comment before attacking the commentators?
      19th amendment was brought not because to keep RW in eternal power but to prevent presidents AKA dictators from abusing power. I have sympathy for you for your engagement in this discussion. But Laksiri’s attempt to hoodwink us is deplorable. Aiyo Laksiri or Laksilly!

  • 12
    0

    Like that other political scientist Dayan , Laksiri Fernando is all politics and no science and what he has written is utterly predictable. He should at least concede that there are honest disagreements, on the matter of interpretation, among lawyers, and not malign RW for holding to his point of view. I don’t know how on earth Laksiri Fernando and others like him can justify what President Sirisena had done. The fellow has shown himself to be quite unworthy of the position he occupies, devoid of moral scruples, mendacious and reckless in the way he has plunged the country into this state of chaos.

  • 7
    0

    It is indeed ironic that there so many writers here on CT suddenly saying democracy what democracy!

    Even Muttiaha Muralidaran, the Cricketing son of Sinhala Sri Lanka is happy to swap Democracy for 3 meals a day. His action is indeed illegal he is indeed chucking..

    So fellow Sri Lankans be thankful that under the President and illegal PM and cabinet; you will soon get hospital quality food delivered to your door step 3 times a day in a white van.

  • 12
    0

    Part 1

    .
    Dear Dr Laksiri Fernando,
    .
    To have you writing like this in the present context is disgusting. All your subtle reasoning about who has what powers may be correct, but please remember that you are putting this out for the general public to read, not for Political Science students interested in abstractions.
    .
    We have been long disappointed in Ranil Wickremasinghe. What he has failed to do, Nagananda Kodituwakku has done. Details of that action were criticised by Dilrukshi Kirindigoda. Did you contribute there? Ranil is on his way out of politics, just as My3 is. Please give us your views on Nagananda; guys like me know too little of him.
    .
    My3 has now said that he’s got more “trumps” to play? He was elected with my vote plus 6 million more; we liked the guy well enough, but were moved more by wanting Rakapaksa out. What right does he now have to impose Rakapaksa on us?

    • 9
      2

      Sinhala Man@

      I always respect your thoughts. I have also respect Dr Fernando’s until he has taken the side of Sirisena this time.

      So please dont go and ask any wise advice from Mr Fernando any more, for some invisible reasons, his has been manipulated to the very same manner, Sirisena’s has ended up.

      We perfectly know even if some paragraphs are defined that way, no any leader be empowered to abuse them as Sirisena does and would do.

      Prorogation of parliment should have been done in cousultation with Speaker for example. Yes, President is permitted to put that off upto 2months but considering very ideal situations ( like for examples, vacationing or budget related crucial issues, not just them to succeed in buying the opposition MPs covering the the anticipated total).

      Recalling award of honorary doctorates to Rajaakshe brothers following terror elemination in 2009, this particular Dr Fernando was one of them in the committee to endorse it. All these came into being before Mr Fernando left srilanka for Australia: I doubt today if he is a good human being at all ?
      And very same Dr Fernando stood with us while we the various forces fought against brutal Rajakashe rule in 2015.
      This time, he may well be going through some other pathological problems to see it different to us, just underestimating today ‘s context.
      Today s is against the Democracy. If WE WOULD JEOPARDIZE democracy all the unecpected can become daily routine in this country.

      How can a scholar of Laksiri nature stand against country’s democracy and support once proven Zimbawian style leaders in our country ?

      Mr Sinhala Man, I think we are very unlucky people in this country. To everyone’s eyes, it can be very easy to improve the standards of the people in this country, but the fact that majority’s vulenrablity to fall on the easy tricks of the cheap and most abusive politcians in this country is obvious to any average thought bearers these days.

    • 7
      0

      Contd.
      The key person to have created today<#s problems is Mythriapala no body else. Just imagine the manner he beahves today. Just attacking PM RW as if school going children would do. But RW has not added any derogatory terms to put MS down.
      From the begining on, if you studied them closely, immaturity and and lethagy of President was in fact not overlooked. This could well be not having proper knowledge in such positions. As you know he had not been any of the high positions in the past. Besides, he is not even a basic degree holder compared to may other leaders in this country.

    • 6
      1

      Hi Sinhala Man,

      I read your comments. Mostly I find them neutral.

      But please dont seek any kind of pieces of advice from Dr Fernando. For some reasons he seems to be promoting Mahinda Rajakashe camp again.
      The very same Prof. supported anti-MR camp in 2015.
      There, his articles were crucial and he even stood against DJ to that time.
      DJ has always been the lap dog of Mahinda Rajaakshes. I cant know though any reasons.
      But Laksiri Fernando to behave this way is no means comprehesible. He is btw a scholar whose opinion should be counted today’s context. I really dont know why some of our learnt men and women behave this way.

      • 4
        0

        MsMaralathoni

        Laksiri Fernando may not respond to you under the pretext that you are using a pseudonym however the truth of the matter is that you are being critical of him. He selectively responds to those who are using pseudonym only when they aren’t critical of him.

    • 3
      0

      Sinhala_Man

      Laksiri Fernando has always supported SLFP.
      Please refer to his earlier articles where he publically supported the positions of SLFP and Sirisena.

    • 0
      0

      Dear Native Vedda (and also Prof
      Laksiri Fernando),
      .
      I see what you have told Mrs Maralathoni; I shan’t allow Prof Laksiri the luxury of saying that my Sinhala_Man comments have been anonymously submitted. I shall submit this under my real name, Panini Edirisinhe. The gravatar will be green since I will be using a different email address.
      .
      If you want to have further identification, please Google “Thomian Pharisees” for 3
      articles written using my real name, and my photograph is there. Please provide answers to questions raised here by me and other readers.
      .
      I would say more if this phone that I’m forced to use were more user friendly. I’m in Malaysia, having left Sr Lanka for the first-time in 24 years. I’ll be back in our country on Monday. In a real sense we guys are “Bumi Putra”, but we don’t want the racist policies of the Rakapaksas

      .
      Sincerely, Panini Edirisinhe aka Sinhala_Man

      • 3
        0

        Panini Edirisinhe/Sinhala_Man

        I have known your real name for over four years and have no objection to readers using pseudonym and raising pertinent questions and comments.

        In few cases Dr Laksiri Fernando did responded to readers who used pseudonym in the past. A few weeks ago he stated that he would not respond to readers with pseudonym.
        I am only pointing out the hypocrisy of our so called learned, great and the supposed good.

        Have a great holiday.

    • 1
      1

      Dear Sinhala Man (1),
      The purpose of my article of course was to bring some Realism to the present situation critiquing RW’s what I consider unrealistic (or flimsy) ideas and the imposition of them in the 19th Amendment. 19A went way beyond what was expected and necessary. My method of writing of course was a combination of ‘polemics’ and ‘content analysis’ by going through statements, actions and connections overseas. It may be possible that those were not palpable to ‘true believers’ or ordinary readers.
      For a while, it was clear that MS might take drastic action again RW on what he believes a threat to the country. MS was not my selection but the selection of RW, CBK, ‘civil society’ etc. All three steps of removal, prorogations and dissolution were obvious and coming one after the other. However, the ‘true believers’ could not predict or anticipate them. They were shocked, devastated and desperate. In a way therefore, my shock therapy was effective, however they insult me. Even today I received an insulting email from none other than Kumar David!

    • 0
      0

      Dear Sinhala Man (2),
      On your question on Nagananda Kodituwakku, I immensely respect him except his scheme of bringing a new constitution. Even I talked to him over the phone when I was in Sri Lanka in August. He says, as far as I understand, by winning a presidential election with a draft constitution, that can be implemented. Because it could be considered as a referendum. This is not possible or constitutional. It is possible that he has changed his mind by now. Politics is more complex than mere legalities. I admire that he went before the SC on prorogation, but I understand it was dismissed or settled in President’s favour.

      • 0
        0

        Dear Prof. Laksiri Fernando,
        .
        Thanks for the responses. I shall think all this out after reaching Sr Lanka tomorrow.

  • 3
    0

    There is a mistake LF. The entire operation was formulated by Isreli’s with the connivance of Milinda Moragoda who is totally behind the scene of present chaos. MS is jumping so high on the strength of the background. He does not have the grey matter other than being a grama niladari. RW and the Parliament must be empowered to carryout an investigation on the role that is being played by those involved. The people must be made to understand that they are being divided on these basis for another party to gain from the chaos. MR and MS are just duds.

  • 3
    0

    The various articles of the constitution governing both the removal of the prime minister and dissolving/ convening of the parliament are contradictory. Besides this, there are inconsistencies between the English and Sinhala versions of the constitution. Since the proceedings in the Supreme Court are conducted in the English language the court should logically make a ruling according to what is written in the English version. Of course, there will be heated arguments about this too.
    In view of all these difficulties, the most sensible course of action would be to get this issue sorted out on the floor of the parliament – despite all that horse trading!

  • 7
    0

    Part 2
    .
    As for Article 70 of the 19th Amendment, it is most desirable that lone interlopers are not allowed to call elections at times that suit them. That’s true for any society. If two thirds of MPs agree, go ahead; there possibly is an emergency situation.
    .
    We don’t want Parliament dissolved, at a time when it suits My3 and the Rakapaksas. The “opposition” to them must have time to prepare.
    .
    Three men of my generation who should be retiring from being the initiators and the beneficiaries of active decision making, are not allowing younger people to fashion the world which they and their children have to inhabit. What I have said is unsophisticated common sense; your business as a learned academic is to give rigorous expression to such thoughts.
    .
    If you can’t, please remain in Australia, and let us fashion our lives in the State of Sri Lanka, where we must live out our lives.

    • 1
      1

      Dear Sinhala Man (Part II),
      Article 70 may appear salubrious on the surface. However, there are pros and cons, I cannot discuss fully here. When fixed-term Parliament systems are devised (i.e. UK), the full term of five years is the norm with definite dates given, unless there is 2/3 based on a common need, agreement or emergency. In my previous article I advocated dissolution based on agreement between all five leaders: MS, RW, MR, RS and AD. What I have pointed out mainly in this article is the paradox between Article 70 and Article 33 (2), a fundamental common fault in 19A. I also have expressed that, in my opinion, such a fixed term is artificial for Sri Lanka given the volatility and democratic transition. This has become the reality in the UK and no Parliament has gone for the full fixed term since it was introduced as far as I know. In the UK the system is reviewed through a parliamentary committee. A lot of research is also conducted with opinion surveys etc. How many people have known Article 70, let alone any public discussion?
      To prevent arbitrary dissolution of Parliament in Sri Lanka’s case certain rules, parameters or conditions could have been incorporated instead of the blunt Article 70. Why 4½ years without fixing a date? To check the most auspicious date? Australia and New Zealand are going for full three year terms without strict rules. Still PM decides the date. Three year Parliament term also might be a good reality for Sri Lanka.

      • 2
        1

        Here we go again
        Our academics could do no wrong.
        They do not have personal choices preferences but have country’s interest foremost in their mind.
        The idea that there is a need to have a strong president in the centre no matter how damaging it is to democracy seems not based on valid reasoning but a paranoid commitment to hold the country to ransom a few, which facilitates the noisy minority the opportunities to rob the country, commit large scale crimes, abuse human rights, ………………….. all with state sanctioned impunity.

        Sirisena protects the war criminals, robber barons, commission agents, and lies nonstop, …………. fails to protect the sanctity of parliament while taking no action against those who want to bomb it, stalls investigation against Gota and high ranking security personnels for stealing monies on various defense contracts, ………………… It is all because crooks not only protect fellow crooks but they know there are people out there who can and are willing to interpret the constitution and other laws to suit the suit the situation.

        It is a sad state of affairs.
        People should stop questioning their judgment but beware of their intentions.

      • 1
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        It really doesn’t matter if Article 70 is salubrious or not, all that matters is that it is there. It is there and it is quite clear. There doesn’t appear to be any paradox in interpretation as Article 70 qualifies the powers established in Article 33.

        Therefore, the pros and cons you cannot discuss are nothing more than your poorly thought out opinions and are irrelevant to the situation at hand. As a political scientist you would be expected to know that, but considering the abilities demonstrated by political scientists in Sri Lanka, perhaps you do not. The fact remains, whether you like it or not, Article 70 is quite clear in limiting the powers laid out in Article 33. To say otherwise is to resort to eisegesis and sophistry that is quite flimsy indeed.

        In light of this, the presumption should be that the president has violated and is currently violating the Constitution of Sri Lanka until the Supreme Court says otherwise. Everything should revert to the pre-putsch status quo until a decision is reached about the constitutionality of the president’s actions. Even if the constitution is poorly written, poorly structured and in need of replacement or amendment, it is still the constitution as it stands now and should be obeyed.

  • 5
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    Remember Laksiri Fernando took us to Utopia through articles based on the book he authored?
    Some of us, lay-Lankans, were led to believe that it was a land of equals or trying to create.
    Laksiri had in mind a land in which two teams are in constant tussle to hold the reins. Both teams are baddies but Laksiri prefers one team.
    .
    Are Laksiri’s Flimsy, Strange & Untested Constitutional Theories” out of date?
    We have a coup d’état to deal with, fortunately without blood-spill.

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      K Pillai
      “Remember Laksiri Fernando took us to Utopia through articles based on the book he authored?”
      In LF’s THOMAS MOOR’S Socialist UTOPIA and CEYLON acknowledgements he says
      ” My special gratitude…., Dr Jayampathy Wickramaratne PC and Sisira Weragoda….”
      Please pardon me for blowing my own trumpet.
      Jayampathy is the author of 19 A, I am not holding a brief for RW or MS or MR but a small observer of the politics of SL.
      I am sad for LF as I can’t agree or believe his views on this issue.Sorry LF

      • 1
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        Thank you Sisira.

        Something trivial. It is Thomas More.

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    Dr Laksiri Fernando

    The prorogation of Parliament at this stage although not unconstitutional proves that the change of Premiership is not based on Presidents change of opinion,

    But on the contrary he is intrinsically convinced that his selected member of Parliament for Premiership does not have the confidence of majority members of Parliament on that date but on a future date only his choice will be able to get the required majority through horse trading.

    Hence the prorogation!.

    This is a deliberate violation of the constitution.

    The President by his action therefore unethically encourages corruption-a punishable offence for impeachment.

    Dr Laksiri Fernando, Could you be able to continue to defend this outrageous act?

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    Dr Lakshmi Fernando,

    It is not a constitutional question,but only a question who has the majority support in Parliament.
    One need not go before the Supreme court,but only before parliament.

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    If MR comes back, Laksiri will surely be rewarded with Consul General in Sydney, or who knows, High Commissioner to Australia. MR has not forgotten that it was Laksiri who proposed in the Senate to award a Honarary LLD to Mahinda and Honorary PhD to Gota.

  • 5
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    Its a sad commentary when Laksiri thinks like Wimal. Now that the President has dissolved Parliament unconstitutionally will you still justify his actions?

  • 0
    3

    So what seems to be the problem, my dear fellow cyber travelers, you get your democracy I got my election, let us rejoice in the splendor and wonder of this island. Why lament when you can have that second scotch or the third hooch!

  • 4
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    Wanni haamine
    Election commissioner has other ideas!. Hold on to that hooch because my countrymen may have tampered your arrack with methyl alcohol.

    You won’t have eye sight or insight when you sober up !

  • 5
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    Many of us observing the shotgun marriage that resulted in the birth of Yahapalanaya government watched in wonderment to see how the things will turn out. Many of us realised, after the first few months, that it will all end in tears. Now people like Dr Appata-Siri are throwing petrol on the flickering flames.

    The good ship Lanka is on the rocks, and all that the rascals who put us this position are throwing stones at each other.

  • 5
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    LF has become another retired donkey of a professor, making a complete fool of himself. It is your view of the 19th amendment that is bunkum. Who is doing the ‘regime change’ here, without any valid reasons? What RW said or did in the past is not the issue here.

    Sirisena has gone ahead and dissolved parliament, when he had no authority to do so constitutionally; moreover, calling new elections while the illegally appointed cabinet can abuse its power and misuse resources of a poor country that has no funds to hold frequent elections, is criminal. It is a criminal coup. Sirisena ought to be held accountable one way or another.

  • 1
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    Ranil’s folllowers are attacking LF in personal terms..

    One time when Karu Jayasuriya challenged Ranil for UNP leadership they said Karu was an army deserter !

    If Ranil is so sure why doesn’t he go to the Supreme Court ?

    If the UNP and their foreign backers so sure why don’t they face a general election ?

    In both places they will get the answer they deserve

  • 2
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    In Sri lankan politics one could now clearly see a hidden agenda that the politicians are surreptitiously trying to take the law into their own hands conveniently rejecting the basic ingredients of the principals of democracy viz. the separation of powers. One could site many a instance in the past how the judiciary has been manipulated to suit the aspirations of the leader of the governing Party. The appointment of Neville Samarakone as CJ by former President JR comes to one,s mind, though he was no stooge of the then Govt. he was not at the beck and call of the Govt. and the succeeding Presidents and Governments made sure that the CJ was one of their men and subsequently and gradually we saw majority of judges were hand in glove with the ruling party and the citizens rights were in the back burner. We recently saw in the case of Provincial Election the way the Govt. totally rejected the Judicial ruling and got the AG to pronounce his interpretation in Parliament. I do not know the legal appropriateness of such an advice of AG over riding the ruling of the Judiciary. It is also on record what PM has said that Parliament is supreme which is not correct , these three organs of Democratic governance has three different roles to play and the Citizens of the country are the custodians and their majority will must prevail. During the last three decades or so we have seen successive Governments walking away from these norms and principals and President and PM have been the worst offenders. If the President had digressed the Constitution in removing the PM it is definitely a matter for the Judiciary and PM should have sought the advice of the Judiciary without demanding a floor test.

  • 0
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    Laksiri
    In the article above
    “According to Articles 125 of the constitution, “The Supreme Court shall have sole and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine any question relating to the interpretation of the Constitution…” That is the right place to go without creating instability and chaos. ……”
    I reproduce the whole Article 125.
    Could you please re-examine the article and tell us and RW, the process how RW , Karu J or anybody other than President could seek an interpretation of constitutionality for sacking PM or dissolving Parliament? Even if they are unconstitutional, is there a course laid down in this constitution for recourse?
    My understanding is this provision is available only for the President, under Article 129 (1)
    As such President can get away with any unconstitutional act.
    President can be checked for his unconstitutional acts, only by Article 38 (2)(a) and there on… (Which is an occurrence, like ‘kana kesbewa viyasiduren mase poya dawase handa dekeema’) This too was shut off by the dissolution of parliament. One of the unconstitutional Acts is the dissolution itself.
    “125. (1) The Supreme Court shall have sole and exclusive
    Jurisdiction to hear and determine any question relating to the
    Interpretation of the Constitution and accordingly, whenever
    Any such question arises in the course of any proceedings in
    Any other court or tribunal or other institution empowered by
    Law to administer justice or to exercise judicial or quasi-judicial
    Functions, such question shall forthwith be referred to the
    Supreme Court for determination. The Supreme Court may direct
    That further proceedings be stayed pending the determination of
    Such question.
    (2) The Supreme Court……..”

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