27 September, 2020

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Stripping PC Powers And Toying With A PSC

By Harim Peiris –

Harim Peiris

The Rajapakse government has in recent weeks put into high gear its post war Northern or Tamil policy and this policy has been marked by generally trying to reduce the level of devolution that exists in the country under the 13th amendment. What currently exists as devolution is also only a partial implementation of the 13th amendment, since in practice neither police nor land powers have been vested with the provinces since the inception of the Councils. However, not satisfied with a de facto arrangement of reducing the powers of the councils, the Administration desires a de jure reduction of devolution granted under the 13thamendment.

Denying the provincial franchise to Tamil citizens.

The Sinhala Buddhist nationalist elements in the government, the JHU and the NFF have been helpful in this regard, taking the lead in seeking to form public sentiment towards both reducing devolution and taking it a step further to deny the Tamil people in the North, citizens of Sri Lanka by decent no less, their franchise at the provincial level, to elect their own provincial representatives. In the alternate, the former army commander of Jaffna appointed Governor of the Northern Province, exercises the powers of the council, unconstitutionally as the Supreme Court has held in the Divineguma Bill case and we wonder why the world tells us we have a military administration and no provincial democracy in the former conflict zone of the North.

Now the military and indeed the government frequently concedes that it has not won the hearts and minds of the Tamil community, post war as the election results of votes en mass for the TNA, will objectively tell us and the security arguments for making the North a garrison province would bear out. In such an instance, some political accommodation of the Tamil community as had been attempted through and from the times of the Bandaranaike – Chelvanayakam pact and the Dudley – Chelvanayakam pact, is surely needed as even the Rajapakse Administration admits through its own All Party Representatives Conference (APRC) appointed during the war to seek the Southern consensus for the ethnic problem and the LLRC appointed afterwards to deal with the effects of the war and reconciliation.

Non Implementation of LLRC

In the four years since the end of the war in 2009, the government has taken two steps towards addressing the underlying causes and the effects of the ethnic conflict. Arguably in response to the UN Secretary General’s Experts Panel, the government appointed its own Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and subsequently at India’s urging began a “structured dialogue” with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which explored the contours of a political settlement. Both these domestic initiatives languish on the back burner, consigned to the non implementation ranks of government policy, either due to a lack of political will or more likely, as events demonstrate, a political desire to do almost exactly the opposite to what the core LLRC recommendations are and the even the limited areas of agreement reach in the year long discussions with the TNA. Having unilaterally decided to keep away from the bi lateral talks with the TNA, the government is now reviving afresh another non starter of an initiative; a parliamentary select committee (PSC) on the ethnic question.

Making noises about a unilateral PSC

The Government is making anew a prior suggestion of proceeding with a parliamentary select committee (PSC) however now with the caveat that only the government, made up of its constituent parties will participate. This is supposed to deliberate on a solution to the ethnic problem. Strangely the most vociferous proponents of the PSC, are the JHU who claim there is no ethnic problem in the country, but are the biggest proponents of the PSC. One wonders to what purpose.

Firstly a PSC that is constituted only of government members is redundant. There is both the (large) cabinet and the UPFA parliamentary group meeting, for intra governmental discussions. In fact deliberations between government’s constituents are a clear necessity before the government can engage with the TNA, since the government does not speak in one voice on devolution and reconciliation and seemingly has no clear post war policy on the ethnic problem.

Second, the Rajapakse regime should before it engages in yet another exercise such as the PSC, draw on and indeed implement the decisions and recommendations of its own prior processes and deliberations, including the Tissa Vitarana APRC process and the LLRC. Both of these are government processes. Implementing even some of their basic recommendations, does not require any further discussion, just the political will for the Regime to fulfill its own promises, manifesto and internally generated proposals. That the Rajapakse Administration seems adamantly opposed to making even the smallest concessions to minorities in the country, be they ethnic or now even religious, except to deny the existence of minorities hardly inspires any confidence or rationale for engagement.

Finally, following a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) process, held illegal, null and void by the appellate and superior courts of this country, that proceeded with impeaching the chief justice of the country, after adverse decisions against the government, hardly provides the kind of stellar recommendations about the integrity of a PSC process. The PSC on the chief justice impeachment showed exactly how the Rajapakse regime uses (or abuses) a PSC and the combined opposition including the UNP, the JVP and the TNA can be forgiven if once bitten twice shy, they opt out of participating in another PSC unless and until the government by presenting its own proposals for resolving the issues or implements in good faith and best efforts the LLRC recommendations thereby demonstrating its sincerity. In the absence of such confidence building measures, there is no rhyme or reason for the opposition and especially the TNA to be a party to a seemingly government time buying exercise for CHOGM and / or the next national election.

Harim Peiris‘s writings may be accessed online http://harimpeiris.com

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Latest comments

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    The Govt seems determined to keep the minorities down buy any means. Over the last few years we have witnessed the never ending saga of excuses and promises. We go from commission to commission, report to report with no results. VP has been replaced by a military administration in the North. Now the Govt is trying to do away with the entire system including the East.

    We hear the Secretary to the President parroting his master’s voice and entering the domain of politics, which is none of his business as a public official. We hear Brigadiers condemning newspapers, and newspapers being attacked with the perpetrators walking free. So there is hardly anything anyone can do as facism seems to have left this govt bereft of any sense or direction.

  • 0
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    Every body (Opinion Makers)seems to be knowing everything but the people are in the dark and they are being ignited by various ethnic group for their own advantageous. If they are actually worried about the Sinhala race and Buddhism they should visit other countries and see for themselves how the people live as one nation while devolving powers within their territories.

    No one like to create a “well informed society” in this country and even the people are not prepared to learn and try to be engaged in self boasting such as our is the only country which has enough wealth and the western forces are trying to take them. The foolish people are being foolished over and over again on the basis of race and religion. Because of the power greedy even educated people are acting irrationally when it comes to Buddhism and religion other wise they wont keep quite when all these Senas create havoc violating the rule of law.
    Consistency, predictability are also part of Rule of Law. But is it there when a case that involves a minority.

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      Ally Weerasinghe,
      ‘People live as one nation while devolving powers within their territories.’ Which unitary country that devolved power and is continuing without breaking up? What well informed you are talking? Sri Lanka HDI is the highest in the Indian subcontinent. It stands far above most countries. You must be living in the real dark for you to visualize people in SL are in the dark these days.

      So, I am not surprised you are silent on Muslim extremism that not just fight almost every race and religion the world but even fight each other by blasting themselves daily to kill people but criticize Buddhist and BBS as irrational who engage extremism by way of dialogue but not murder. I am positive, you have a chip on your shoulder.

  • 0
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    What about CBK when she was the president?

  • 0
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    If the South Indian minority gives up turning SL into a Tamil Nadu and if the Arabic minority gives up turning SL into an Arabia, there won’t be any problem.

    e.g. The Malay minority is the best

    • 0
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      “the South Indian minority gives up turning SL into a Tamil Nadu”

      Muliyawaikkal- the fact you chose to blame 2 different ethnic groups (each with their own history and circumstance) as opposed to even briefly looking at the actions of members of the dominant community and the quality of the leaders they elected to top positions in these past 65 years. should immediately inform people as to what type of high calibre idiot you are in supporting Percy’s attempts to destroy the 13th Amendment. As you are a supporter of the brothers and their associated criminal acts. you are therefore in need of the same educational assistance as was afforded to the imbecile Namal Rajapaksa before he cheated in his law exams. The ‘South Indian’ minority you refer to are mostly inhabiting the central and western provinces and are known as ‘up-country’ tamils. They and their leaders are not part of TNA and are considered a separate ethnic group (with different needs) by even your own sinhala govt therefore please do try your best to not descend into stupidity again and refer to North-East Tamils as South Indian. Also the SL muslims are not native arabs but have their own unique customs and traditions therefore again please try not to humiliate yourself again by infering they are trying to create arabia.

  • 0
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    Gamini Luxshman Pieris- a Professor of law and a former Vice Chancellor- the man who co-authored the progressive Chandrika Kumaratunge proposals for constitutional change with the late Neelan Thiruchelvam, has submitted a memorandum to the cabinet on how to undermine the 13th amendment that has been already emasculated both in design and execution.

    What a shame? Does the President need any enemies when he has friends and advisers of this caliber, in the cabinet and around him?

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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      I am reproducing here a comment I made elsewhere giving a comparison I received from an OPA member between the 13th Amendment and the Indian Constitution. This appears to provide a justification for some amendments to the 13th Amendment. Comments from you and the author Harim Peiris who was close to President CBK will be welcome.

      The 13th Amendment to the Constitution has given powers to the Provincial Councils exceeding the power granted to an Indian State by the Indian Constitution. An extract from analysis produced by a member of OPA is given below.

      COMPARISON OF POWERS VESTED UNDER 13A IN THE PROVINCES IN SRI LANKA WITH THOSE ENJOYED BY THE STATES OF INDIA

      1. In terms of Article 3 – the Parliament of India may
      (a) Form a new State by separation of territory from any State or by uniting two or more States or parts of States or by uniting any territory to a part of any State;
      (b) increase the area of any State;
      (c) diminish the area of any State;
      (d) alter the boundaries of any State;
      (e) alter the name of any State:
      This can be done with a simple majority of votes in the Parliament provided that the President seeks the views of the States on the proposal.

      In the case of Article 154(A) it is obligatory on Sri Lanka to establish a Provincial Council for every Province. The Parliament of Sri Lanka can join one or more Provinces but cannot resort to other options as provided for in the IC. For example boundaries of a Province cannot be altered even with the concurrence of the Provinces affected.

      2) Under Article 257 -, the executive power of the Union shall also extend to the giving of directions to a State as to the construction and maintenance of means of communication declared in the direction to be of national or military importance:

      There is no parallel provision in 13A.

      3) Under Article 312 -, Parliament may create all India services [(including an all-India judicial service)] common to the Union and the States.
      At present the All India Services are the Judicial Service, Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and the Indian Forest Service.
      The officers of the All India Services are recruited and trained by the Union Government (“the Centre”).

      a) All India recruitment makes possible minimum and uniform standards of administration throughout the country. It enables the induction of the best available talent to these services.
      b) With personnel drawn form different States, each State cadre gets a leavening of senior officers from outside, whose vision and outlook transcend local horizons.
      c) Systemic deputation from the State to the Union broadens the vision of the officers so deputed and brings to the Union an experience of closeness to actual realities.

      There is no parallel provision in 13A.

      4). Article 44 – requires the (Indian) State to endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.

      13A has no such requirement, the absence of which could lead to many legal tangles.

      5). Article 76 (3) – gives the Attorney General of India, the right of audience in the performance of his duties in all courts of India.
      13A has no such provision.

      6). Article 139 A – empowers the Supreme Court, in cases where questions of substantial and general importance are involved to withdraw cases pending before High Courts and dispose of the cases by itself.
      The Supreme Court may, transfer any case, appeal or other proceedings pending before any High Court to any other High Court.

      13A does not have any such provisions.

      7) Article 141 of the Indian Constitution stipulates that the law declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all courts within the territory of India.

      There is no parallel provision in 13A.

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        Truth,

        I have not studied the Indian constitution with respect of devolution. However, I shall do so soon. Regardless, I have studied the 13th amendment in depth. It is a poltical and legal charade, that appears to give more than it does, in fact. The ‘ Executive Power’ is devolved to the Governor, who is the Presiident’s appointee. He controls the provincial public service and the purse strings. The the powers the Chief Minister and his ministers are deemed to possess by the titles are a mirage. They of course enjoy the right to be corrupt , as influence peddlers. The PCs can be only as efficient and independent as the President wants them to be. What the President directs the Governer will follow. The PCs are in effect puppets of the executive presidency. With governing coaltion controlling most PCs, theyaldo enjoy a ‘captured’ staus as are the parliamentand the Superior Courts. This is definitely not so in India. The ‘ Concurrent list’ is also another aspect of the rand charade. I have described the 13th amendment as a legal sleight of hand. What one hand gives, two hands are ready to take away.

        A northern PC is of interest to me only as a possible starting point of cooperation between the centre and the periphery. The northern PC can be only as effective as the President wants it to be. Of course the northern PC will demand that more powers as provided for in the 13th amendment are devolved to it by the President, through the Governor. The President has the option to both give and withdraw. It can be calibrated process involving the PC and President, to build up rapport and trust. I am sure the TNA which indefinitely will control the northern PC will play ball, if the president is ready to onestly engage. I have more doubts about the President than the TNA at this point in time. The People in the north will not tolerate any shenanigans from the TNA that could potentially blight their just recovering lives.

        What MR is doing now is definitely rabble rousing to distract the suffering and resentful masses, using an age-old and much abused bogey.

        Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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          If Justice Wigneswaran is appointed as the Chief Minister, it will set a new benchmark for Chief Ministers. A Chief Minister with stature will help to develop the required cooperation between the centre and periphery, if the focus of the PC becomes the development and satisfying the needs of the people of Northern Province. If so, it will show that if people of such stature are appointed as Chief Ministers of other PCs, PCs will cease to be white elephants.

          • 0
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            LTTE proxies will never appoint Wigneswaran as the Chief Minister candidate.

          • 0
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            Truth,

            I agree. Apparently, Justice Vignewaran has apparently declined to be a candidate. Who is the alternative? Mr.Sambanthan and the TNA should seek out alternatives. However, much will yet depend on MR agreeing to honestly play ball. I have serious doubts after observing his moves during his second term.

            Dr.RN

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              Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

              “Who is the alternative?”

              Wimal Weerawansa, Mervyn Silva, Duminda, JimSofty, Leela, Mohan Pieris, Chinese Ambassador, Vaiko, Nedumaran, Seeman, ….Rudhrakumaran, ………Father Emanuel, Rahul Gandhi…..

              former North East Provincial Council Minister Dayan Jayatileke.

            • 0
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              Give Mr. Rudrakumaran a chance and see.

            • 0
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              JimSofty

              Your softly softly approach to the NPC elections makes you the best candidate of all.

              Jim can fix it.

              Be a man, contest the elections.

    • 0
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      At long last, GLP must have realized dangers of handing out police and land powers to LTTE proxies. Anyway, what do you say if there is a plebiscite on 13A Dr.Narendran.

      • 0
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        I am a Muslim,

        Plebiscite or referendum among whom? The people of the north and east or the whole country? Will it be like the one JRJ’ held to extend his term of office? How will the purpose of the 13th amendment be explained to the voters, with the type of captured media dominating the scene in this country, how could an I formed opinion be developed by the people. See how a ‘ Puss Vedilla’ that is the 13th amendment is being blown up to be menacing like an atom bomb by MR’s minions.

        Dr.RN

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    “Article 44 – requires the (Indian) State to endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.”

    Oh really- please give us examples where this is put into practice in daily life as I thought the Indian muslims have their own personal law board? Do you mean to say that this legislation is a guide as opposed to being strictly enforced? In the same way if sinhala-dominated PCs want the centre to retain police and land powers then so be it but that right should not be taken away from the minorities living in the North-east with no viable alternatives presented aside from sychophantic devotion to the personality-cult of Percy

    Please can I give an advance warning to anyone feeling brave enough to comment to ‘truth’ and their copy-and-paste job from another thread; you will be advised to go away into a quiet room with an internet connection (like Namal R) and told to research the points due to ‘truth’ being unable to handle processing of information yet. His skill set is sadly that of mindless replication and labelling any Tamil speaking against Mahinda as an ‘ealamist’

  • 0
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    Is it fait accomlis for Sambnadan’s Wish List or has he pushed the envelope too far?

    This is the question in the minds of the great majority after hearing about the recent summit between Right Wing Ranil and the JHU, which is tagged by the Diaspora and its local followers as the mother of all Sinhala Buddhist Extremists.

    Looking at the names in Ranil’s delegation. it is full on Elitist Christian dominated with the all the heavy artillary combined to face the two Ministers and their Bikku Boss.

    One notable member present,was Wijedasa who has come up with not just one but three plus one Models for the inhabitants to choose from ,to take them to promised land.

    The Kapurala and the Prince in waiting, who is supposed to take care of the UNP Sinhala Buddhists was nowhere to be seen.

    The meet has been fantastic according to Ranil’s spokesperson.

    But no details.

    The crucial but simple issue is ,do the inhabitants need nine Police Forces to protect them?.

    Do the inhabitants want nine Chief Ministers to tell them what can be and can not be done on the land which belong to them as common property.

    Eight out of the nine CMs already in office are going about their business without any hassles,although the inhabitants under them don’t get much return for their investment.

    Mr Sambandan on the otherhand need the Police and Land Titles under him before anything else.

    This is what the ordinary punters can’t understand,especially when the North was out of bounds to them for three decades, when Sambnadan’s friends were running it with their own Police .

    • 0
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      I agree the PCs that functioned so far in the South were an utter waste of funds and duplication of work. What they built up were the
      massive egos of 8 Mahamathithumas and an army of Security Officers – who were in fact various sundry assassins-for-fees.

      When the Sinhala South and its leadership – not excluding the Buddhist clery and their hierarchy – find the wisdom to allow the Tamils to have their an effective political structure to run the affairs of the NEP, we will move towards peace and reconciliation. This will require the South to get rid of its imagined fear of the NEP becoming part of
      Tamilnadu – a truly insane fear. The sooner this is done the better before the BBS and its fellow-travellers push the country into an unending blood-bath.

      Senguttuvan

  • 0
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    K.A Sumanasekera

    “Mr Sambandan on the otherhand need the Police and Land Titles under him before anything else.”

    If Sinhala/Buddhist stupids are allowed to misuse the Sinhala/Buddhist police thugs, why should not the Tamil stupids have the same rights to misuse their own Tamil police thugs?

    You see this is equality in action or unity in diversity under one nation, one state and one leader? The commonality is irrespective of their race religion region the ordinary people will continue to suffer.

    You will be happy.

    • 0
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      Dear Native,

      Sinhala Buddhist Stupids copped it big time from Tamils misusing not only Tamil Police but Army Navy and AF as well.

      And they are not going to be more stupid to cop it again from Sambandan or anyone else.as long as the current President is around.

      By the way why don’t you ID yor brethren with their religion?.

      • 0
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        K.A Sumanasekera

        “Sinhala Buddhist Stupids copped it big time from Tamils misusing not only Tamil Police but Army Navy and AF as well.”

        How so? Let us have some big, big big…incidents where these kind of abuse took place.

        You mean Tamils were able to get away with murder with fees paid under the table. Diaspora LTTE rumps are so loaded they are capable of not only buying your Police but Army Navy and AF as well, not to mention your politicians.

        “And they are not going to be more stupid to cop it again from Sambandan or anyone else.as long as the current President is around.”

        It seems they are racing to reach the upper threshold of stupidity by the second. However, I can assure the Sinhala/Buddhists and their brethren Tamils, that there is no upper limit to their stupidity.

        You are trying very hard to be in the lead, you are not yet there, but with little more effort you can be in the first 100 league.

        I wish you well.

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