During submissions in the 19th Amendment Bill determination hearing today (April 1), the Supreme Court judgement in the case of Rajapaksa vs. Kularatne was shown to the Supreme Court by Constitutional lawyer and TNA Member of Parliament M. A. Sumanthiran, where former Minister Basil Rajapaksa, brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was found by court to have engaged in corrupt practice at a by-election for Mulkirigala Seat held on 12/09/1987. Further taking up of submissions on the Bill is due to take place in the Supreme Court for a second day, tomorrow (April 2) as well before Chief Justice K. Sripavan, Justice Chandra Ekanayake and Justice Priyasath Dep.
Several citizens contacted by Colombo Telegraph after the Basil Rajapaksa case was highlighted and asked their views on the matter, pointed out that it was unacceptable that despite the existence of this judgement publicly reported in Sri Lanka Law Report Volume 2 of 1988 recognizing corruption committed by Basil Rajapaksa, President Rajapaksa appointed this very same brother to head the entire economy. Many who were contacted, said they earlier supported Rajapaksa at the last Presidential election without knowing the unprecedented corruption level that has now been exposed after the media gained more freedom, with the fall of the Rajapaksa regime. They said that this highlights the need to ensure that whoever the president should not be able to take abusive or corrupt decisions without checks and balances, as they now realize Rajapaksa did.
“The 19th Amendment Bill contains many provisions aimed to limit the presidential powers to prevent dictatorship and nepotism, bring proper accountability and checks on corruption and ensure that the judiciary and civil service doesn’t continue to be politicized. Main political parties (UNP and SLFP) decided to put aside differences and come together to form a national government, to sort out the problems caused by the Rajapaksa regime.” a constitutional lawyer told Colombo Telegraph.
“This includes restoring (through 19th Amendment), the checks and balances like under the 17th Amendment that was controversially repealed by the Rajapaksa regime by 18th Amendment to consolidate a monopoly of power in the hands of then President Mahinda Rajapaksa.” the lawyer pointed out.
Basil Rajapaksa who fled the country soon after the Rajapaksa regime was ousted through the January 8 election, is now due to be questioned by police on serious allegations of massive corruption after common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena was elected president and Ranil Wickremesinghe was made prime minister.
For the judgement in Rajapaksa vs. Kularatne, click here