2 December, 2021

Blog

The Cat Is Out

By Basil Fernando

Basil Fernando

The Government’s announcement that copies of the draft Constitution will be given to Opposition Members of Parliament is good. This will open up the public debate. The people have a right to see what this curious animal looks like. Will it be nothing but the same Constitution which was tailor made to suit President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and re-tailored to suit Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

In any case, the matter of importance is the process of Constitution making, which should be democratic and open to the public. Do people want an authoritarian Constitution like that of 1978 or a system where everyone, including the Head of State, is bound by the same laws, and equally answerable to the courts?

The all important issue is the process of the making of a Constitution. The process of drafting the Indian Constitution has been summed up by a foremost authority on that Constitution, M. V. Pylee, in his book, the ‘India’s Constitution’.

“It took two years, 11 months and 17 days for the Constituent Assembly to finalize the Constitution since its first meeting on the 9th of December 1946. During this period, it had 11 sessions and 165 days of actual work. The draft Constitution had 315 Articles and 13 Schedules. The final form of the Constitution, as it was originally passed in 1949, had 395 Articles and eight Schedules. This shows that the original draft had undergone considerable changes. In fact, there were notices for over 7,000 amendments to the draft Constitution. Of these, 2,473 were actually moved, debated and disposed of. This alone should show the manner in which the Assembly conducted its business. To anyone who goes through the proceedings of the Assembly, it will be abundantly clear that it was indeed a great democratic exercise. Discussion was encouraged to the maximum. There was great tolerance of criticism and no impatience with long drawn out debates.” (India’s Constitution, by M. V. Pylee, Page 40, Paragraph 41).

No attempt to hustle through, no endeavour at imposition. It was a full fledged democratic exercise of which the Indians could be proud.

All the transcripts of every discussion that took place have been well preserved and are being constantly referred to in the courts in interpreting the Constitution. This raises interesting questions. Where are notes of discussions which took place among the lawyers who wrote the present draft? What was the reasoning behind each of the clauses that they have proposed? All those who are to contribute to the discussion have a right to know the process of reasoning that lay behind each clause as these clauses will have a lasting and drastic impact on future events. The Opposition Members of Parliament must demand that these discussions which preceded the draft be made available to them and the public.

The draft must be made available to the public

 It is not only the Opposition Members of Parliament that have the right to see this draft document. The public has right to know what has been proposed as the draft Constitution. They have a right to know what this is all about. Will the draft bring about good news to a battered nation? Or is it designed to make things even worse for them? The farmers have a right to see whether arbitrary decisions which can create disaster to their farming, will still be possible to be made if these proposals are adopted. The fishermen have a right to know whether the Constitution will protect their right to fish and whether the State will protect their maritime resources from intruders from other countries. The businessmen have a right to know whether unfair and illegal trading practices will be allowed to continue. Everyone will want to see whether strong corruption elimination measures can be brought up by measures to undo the weaknesses of the present Constitution which allowed corruption to flourish. Everyone will also want to know whether the present state of lawlessness and the failure of law enforcement, will be brought to an end through strong Constitutional safeguards. Will the Constitution help to create a better policing investigation system, which is not used to harass political opponents and will Constitutional provisions bring about a better coordination between all security agencies which will be capable of preventing horrendous crimes such as the Easter Sunday massacre?

Above all, everyone will want to know what the draft says about the Judiciary. Will the President continue to have the power to appoint Superior Court Judges or will that power be given solely to the Judiciary itself, as is done in India. Will the Judiciary be given back the power of the judicial review of legislation as it was available under the 1948 Soulbury Constitution and was removed by the 1972 and 1978 Constitutions?

Further questions of public interest are as to the ways proposed by the draft to remove the political controls exercised over the Attorney General’s Department. Associated with that is the issue of ending Executive influence on the filing or withdrawing of prosecutions. Also, the President’s power of pardoning persons convicted of serious crimes.

Of paramount importance is the way the draft proposes to deal with the protection of minorities. The 1978 Constitution contributed to aggravating such conflicts and creating processes leading to the use of violence. Will the future be different? Will avenues be created for reconciliation and cooperation among all the peoples living in Sri Lanka?

The making of a Constitution for a collapsed nation is not an easy task that could be left to a drafting committee. It is a daunting task that requires the contributions of all stakeholders.

Now that the Government has announced that the draft will be given to the Opposition, there is no reason as to why this draft cannot be presented to the people also. For example, to begin with, it may be made available in the Government websites and also otherwise published.

Sri Lanka, a nation in deep crises on every front cannot afford to make a mistake in this important task of creating a new Constitution. The Constitution making must be made use of in order to pave the way to overcome all pressing problems. It is also important to see that the process of doing this will have to help regain lost international respectability.

There is no reason at all to justify hurrying through this process. Popular consultation will be for the benefit of all who desire a Constitutional framework with which the State will become functional again.

It is therefore the duty of all persons and parties to demand an open process.

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Latest comments

  • 30
    4

    Basil you are expecting the unexpected. The public will not be informed other than what they get from usual government mouth piece / media. . There will be some heated discussions and theatrics in Parliament, followed by few opposition members standing up against their own party directions and voting for Rajapaksas constitution, end of story. Ours is not a constitution but a constipation, all it takes is a day or two of stool softeners to get it out.

    • 25
      5

      If you were still alive …….. no “Sinhalese” leader would’ve dared to do this!

      The war kept the “Sinhalese” leaders somewhat honest.

      Unbeknown to ye …….. ye fought for the Sinhalese as well.

      Now, the Sinhalese miss you more than even the Tamils.

      Compared to these self-serving thieving lot your faults were minor.


      Happy B’Day ……. the only honest true authentic Lankan patriot, Velupillai.

      The people, in their hearts, have named the parliament in ye honour! ……. It’s a greater honour than the hundreds named in the thieving bastard nation-destroyer Mahinda.


      Those who don’t like the truth told straight …….. can kiss my ass ….. it’s better than the stinking Rajapakses’ :))

      • 10
        1

        Bro Nimal , you are absolutely right.

    • 6
      0

      chiv,
      .
      theatrics, says you?
      It is Friday morning, almost 10.00 am. I’ve just seen a prose report in the newspaper “Ceylon Today” reproduced in the infolanka website. It read tamely. I had seen a ten minute video in the night. It was heated.
      .
      Now see this 29″ video:
      .
      One has to see and hear this to understand just how violent the emotions have been.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9j-L2nVHJrs
      .
      Submitting although I haven’t yet reached 10 minutes.

      • 3
        0

        Sinhala_Man,
        Simple description is “Back Biting”
        famous past time of Sri Lankans!

    • 9
      0

      Srilanka is upside down today….. ” hondata thiubana ratak namuth horu rata keewa” – a couuntry which was in good shape is turned out to be a state of high criminals”.
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddpP1z5QmZ0

      Gone were the day, we could rely on Hansard records.

  • 44
    3

    This is the only constitution in the modern world which is being made in secrecy, with no input from the affected population.

    The funniest thing is that it is alleged that the maker ( lawyer drafting it) is also a dual citizen !

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry !

    • 11
      1

      The whole SL judiciary is corrupt and stinking!! Do you expect any positive contributions to a good constitution from them? What can you expect from them anything other than toxicants?

      • 7
        0

        Dear Jit,

        this happens, when MEDIA makes every efforts to maintain a ” public fake perception” for their political survival.
        .
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbKMGv48vlI

        BANDULA GUNAWARDHANA is a man who sucked the last blood drop of the poor through WHOLE SALE tution business. So how can he or the like ever have “hearts” ?
        .
        Mahind Rajapakshe and MAHINDA CHINTHANAYA identified and picked it timely that TUTIONS MASTER, SO CALLED ARTISTS (film stars, Teledrama stars etc) are the main fan bases. If the bugger et al, would bribe them, those fans would also come after their icons.
        This BALU CHINTHANAYA ruined this nation, by misleading the nation. Harvest was reaped out by POHHOTTUWA BALLIGE PUTHAS. To me, Mahinda Rajapkshe should be charged for having ruined this country.

    • 3
      0

      Dear deepthi,(The Anonymous)
      .
      You’ve not really faced up to the fact that you imagined that I was comfortably resident in some wealthy country.
      .
      I’m a poor villager is true, but sufficiently educated for the S. Thomas’ establishment to want me as Warden (read Principal if you want Lankan English) of the Mt Lavinia school when they had absolutely nobody available in 1990.
      .
      I was not sure that God existed. I have been guilty of no other crime. My identity is clearly proclaimed. I dare you to make a comment here:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/christs-love-moves-the-world-to-solidarity-healing-reconciliation-unity/
      .
      What happened next?
      .
      https://www.lawnet.gov.lk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/009-SLLR-SLLR-2000-V-1-EKSITH-FERNANDO-v.-MANAWADU-AND-OTHERS-ST.-THOMAS-COLLEGE-CASES.pdf

      Do you begin to understand?
      .
      I agree with nimal fernando about Uditha’s record, but, the former is anonymous, the latter I have met once (and he was good to me, so I’ve desisted from commenting).
      .
      However, yourself: please don’t be nasty towards average poor Sri Lankans. The current Bishop is not a bad guy, so what can I do? Gota? Genocidal idiot: on that we agree!
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe
      of Bandarawela, Sri Lanka (NIC 483111444V)

    • 6
      1

      Deepthi,
      Dual Citizenship is the Key to everything in the modern world. They know to manipulate to achieve the best results so that when in a ‘Bind’, all culprits can make the escape.
      That’s the ultimate Scope to endeavour.
      Not very funny, because “they” (Duals) make that constitution for the Local ‘Wallahs’, to stay in Lanka and suffer and for the duals to escape to the new found ‘wonderland’, even as a Data entry clerk or pump attendants.
      Not a new phenomenon altogether, if one remembers the late 60’s and 70’s, with Sinhalayo confined to Sinhala as medium of instruction. The content of Text books for students were confined to old editions of text books translated by the Official Languages department and not updated for revisions that were made by various authors/publications due to extra cost!
      The Hoi Polloi of society, I mean the politicians’ children had education tutored in English at home and further education abroad in London, Oxford, Paris et all
      King Louis of France style. Cake for the elite and breadcrumbs for the others.

  • 20
    2

    I agree with the author that constitution making should be in the open and not in a closet. The most important feature should be that there shouldn’t be Articles, upon being interpreted later, give a meaning which the public never expected to be in the first place. Such Constitutional booby traps or landmines must be removed. The author extensively refers to the Indian Constitution making. He should refer to the speech of Dr. Ambedkar replying the encomiums accorded to him for a “good-constitution”. He stresses the importance of the goodness of people implementing the constitution as opposed to its salient provisions. Every possible issue cannot be addressed in a constitution and the law. But the administration through fair minds practicing decency can address quite a lot of issues. The system should be such that the “political masters” should not escape from fairness and decency.

  • 16
    3

    Each constitution since 1931 has been worse than it’s predecessor.

    This will not disappoint.

    • 4
      18

      GATAM,
      “Each constitution since 1931 has been worse than it’s predecessor.”

      May be according to those guys who sat on the lap of British, enjoyed privileges and oppressed indigenous Sinhalayo.

      • 2
        1

        EE,
        Seem to be having a view, through eye of an Eagle.
        very sound indeed!

        • 1
          0

          @MAHILA ,
          Not juzt Sri Lankans ,every human being has prejudise in their blood its triggered by exposure from hate passed on by family and other peer and fueled by politics and certain orgainised set beliefs, even You and I have it,, I should say I had it ,there are few of us willing to step out , think on our own , unchain our minds at all costs ,relatives, one time friends,religous organizations once you belonged to and politics all turning against you, that is tough, but few of us are willing to go through hell every minute to stand by our convictions without blaming others nor washing our Sins with others Sins to cover ours
          Cont..

  • 19
    1

    “Equality and Accountability are the most important elements of the Constitution. No one is above the law. The law is equal to all.”
    I am not prepared to predict what is going to be in the new constitution or what procedures are going to be to get through the new constitution. We expect the new constitution will resolve the issues that the country and people faced over the decades such as corruption, racism, diversity, political influence and biased judiciary and military etc.
    People have a duty and responsibility in deciding the new constitution and the current parliament or President should get a mandate from the people. It is not above majority or two third majority. This country has different communities with different languages, different cultures and the majority of all these groups should agree on the contents. Other words, more than 75% of the population should be satisfied with the new constitution.

  • 20
    2

    The drafting of a new basic law has been handed over to a nine-member committee headed by President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva.
    The other members of the Committee are Gamini Marapana PC, Manohara de Silva PC, Professor G H Peiris, Professor Naazima Kamardeen, Senior-Lecturer A Sarweswaran, Saman Ratwatte PC, Sanjeewa Jayawardhana PC and Professor Wasantha Seneviratne.
    Since you refer to the Indian Constitution, it was drafted by :
    B. R. Ambedkar, Sheikh Abdullah, Syed Amjad Ali, Madhav Shrihari Aney.
    Frank Anthony, Asaf Ali, N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar and Abul Kalam Azad.
    Importantly the members of the Constituent Assembly were ELECTED by the provincial assemblies by a single, transferable-vote system of proportional representation.
    Compare our set up – APPOINTED (Not Elected) set of nine by a single person – the Prez – and no one else had a say. The first three are known govt supporters, one a director of our airline appointed by Prez, and one or two other acolytes.
    Indian representation is balanced for main religions, Hindu & Muslim with a Cahtolic included. No attempt to hustle through, no endeavour at imposition. It was a full fledged democratic exercise of which the Indians could be justly proud…..Contd II

    • 17
      1

      Contd…..II
      Are the minorities properly represented in our case? Would they dare curtail the power of the legislature to legislate matters pertaining to themselves like emoluments, pensions, duty free vehicles etc without reference to another check and balance. Would they allow judicial review of legislation and curtail the unfettered powers of the President..
      With these possible basic flaws, not much is expected, but what else to do but wait and see..

  • 7
    3

    The United Front of SLFP, LSSP and Communist party in the election manifesto for the 1970 May election announced among many other eye catching promises, there was a reference about converting newly elected parliament into a constituent assembly to draft a constitution for Sri Lanka.

    The people had voted United Front into power with a two third majority. But they did not obtain even 50% of the total votes cast in the election.

    Therefore the people had given them a mandate to bring a new constitution is questionable.

    The 1978 constitution was only an amendment to the 1972 constitution.

    The attempt to draft the present constitution is worse, most probably it will an amendment to the 1978 constitution.

    In the case of the present exercise, an expert committee consisting of some constitutional lawyers with a few academics had drafted the draft.

    The ownership is with the drafting committee, others are all bystanders. The legitimacy is not with the peopl. The ownership should be with the people, then only it will be a sacred document, otherwise it will be a piece of paper..

    Could the people acclaim that it is their constitution?. It is only an illegitimate child.

  • 12
    3

    Recently a Journalist by the name of Sepal Amarasinghe interviewed Mr. Sunil Hadunneththi of JVP who was also the Chairman of COPE during Yahapalanaya. Mr. Sunil H came up with a very interesting proposal to be included in the Constitution.

    It is to include a clause in the Constitution that would state to make the “Manifesto” of the “Ruling Party” a Legal Document that binds the Government and its President, Prime Minister, the Cabinet and all MPs “Responsible” and “Accountable” for the IMPLEMENTATION of the Policies and Action Plans contained therein. If any CITIZEN is aggrieved that such “Policies” and “Action Plans” are not implemented and/or violated, he/she could file an “FR” case in Supreme Courts and seek a DIRECTIVE to implement and also claim “Compensation” for denying his/her “RIGHTS”.

    Isn’t that “Proposal” excellent? That would not allow the “Rouge” political parties and politicians to forget what they promised and would keep them on “CHECK” all the time in their actions. Such a clause in the “Constitution” would definitely solve many of the problems that are generated in the Political, Economic, and Social spheres of the country. Thank you Sunil H for the proposal.

  • 13
    2

    I might annoy you with this comment of mine. But, what the heck, I am not backing away.
    .
    Constitution making has become an exercise of power grabs for our political masters. There will be nothing in it for the people for whom the exercise is purported to be.
    .
    The current exercise is even more bizarre, with a secrecy unheard of in Constitution making.

  • 1
    5

    let’s be more optimistic and enterprising. Those who can and have the connections, the means and the expert knowledge can pool the necessary resources and put pressure on the relevant cabinet members and the legal community to stand up for what is right and initiate the due process. Surely, we have the personnel; political, legal and lay social leaders to ensure that the process of opening it out to the public is initiated and that all stakeholders will be given the opportunity to contribute responsibly???
    A runaway constitution in the author’s words” ………the same Constitution which was tailor made to suit President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and re-tailored to suit Gotabaya Rajapaksa” will seal off democracy from our country for good.

    • 6
      0

      …….Those who can and have the connections, the means and the expert knowledge can pool the necessary resources and put pressure….
      In above, Connections and Means are meaningless as that should not enter into “constitution making”. It is these two that make it lop-sided.
      Ahh expert knowledge – good example fertilizer crisis. This govt thinks only their catchers have expert knowledge, hence “expert advice” of Rathana and Padada-deniya, was acted upon on farming. Good advice from Soil Experts decried as from Fertilizer Mafia. It is on this basis that a Committee of 9 (catchers) by President, of his own choosing only, appointed to draft new constitution, and the will of the SLPP will prevail with 2/3 majority buttressed by “bought votes” of a few accursed ones.

  • 13
    1

    Does the Government think that the people believe in everything that they say? No! Starting from the President, 20A had clauses that got passed which the President never mentioned in his election manifesto or on platforms; PC elections promised never happened and looks like it will never happen; even the new constitution promised in the first year never arrived even during the 2nd year; action against easter attack investigation resulted in the Government hiding 20 volumes of the Presidential inquiry by releasing only 1 volume to the Parliament and other promises given such as reduction of cost of living has now skyrocketed. All in all this government even cannot issue a proper gazette without reversing it subsequently within a short period of time.

    Above all appointing a “thug of a priest Gnanasara” to sit as Chair of a Presidential Commission which initially had more authority than the Minister of Justice shows clearly that this Government has no clear vision and will never submit and give enough time for the Parliament and the Public to evaluate the proposed new Constitution.

    • 7
      2

      It does not matter what they think about the population. They will do what they want. Just like the budget written by politicians and friends for politicians and friends. At least one consolation the people who are mostly screwed are the people that voted for these morons.

      If your not a Sinhala Buddhist don’t expect anything from the constitution its not going to be fair or protect you, your going to be a second class citizen even if your Sinhalese if your not a Buddhist.

  • 15
    2

    India has more democracy than other South Asian Countries.
    But neither India nor Malaysian’s federal system have worked.
    Malaysia has lot of hidden poverty, while India has it open.
    Sri Lanka needs to completely change this patched worked and miserably abused and failed constitution.
    People must understand a totaly westernized democracy constitution will not work nor authoritarianism, we would be fooling ourselves if we keep denying Federalism.
    The only way is to introduce a federal governence ,.but the heads of such federal provinces , etc must be accountable to the parliment.
    It is also time to have a special court to switfly close cases of descrimination, racism ,bigotry from religous to everything else , where the victim is compenstated financially by the perpetrators and subject for community service for least 6 weeks.
    Keep religious leaders only as advicers.
    Without coming up with a proper democratic federal system,with the freedom checked with strict laws that will be applied without bias.
    If there is another election it should be one that will do away with white elephants.
    Each province can elect a Premier and electrol Ministers
    The districts offices can be managed with well educated Secrateries .
    Abolish the executive Presidency and erase JR’s curse from our history.
    And have a Singapore method of Ceremonial President.and Prime Minister.

    • 5
      14

      Fahim Knight,
      “The only way is to introduce a federal governance…”
      —-
      Provinces are a colonial legacy. Provincial boundaries should be erased from the map of Sri Lanka. Provincial councils are something pushed through the throats of indigenous Sinhalayo almost at gun point.
      Indigenous Sinhalayo want a Unitary State with a strong Central Government and not a country that will be pulled in nine different directions by nine dong keys. Priority should be given to meet the aspirations of the indigenous people while providing equal rights to all the citizens.

      • 2
        0

        Dear EE.
        ….PRIORITY should be given to meet the aspirations of the INDIGENOUS people while providing EQUAL RIGHTS to ALL the citizens…..
        Great idea that, but how to do with inherent contradictions in it. Has to be one or the other.

      • 1
        1

        EE,

        Shows how much you know about Sri Lanka’s history, just like your knowledge about pure Buddhism! Haven’t you at least heard of Ruhunu, Pihiti and Maya provinces of ancient Sri Lanka? Ruled under three different kings? British colonial kingdom was not even existent on this earth at that time!

        • 0
          0

          Jit
          You ask EE, ‘haven’t you at least heard of Ruhunu, Pihiti and Maya provinces of ancient Sri Lanka? Ruled under three different kings?’
          For your information, ‘ancient Sri Lanka’ had a name. From the time of the first Buddha to the treacherous Kandyan Convention, Sri Lanka was known as Sihaladipa or Sinhaladipa.
          When our Sinhalese kings ruled other countries (South India and Burma) in the period of Polonnaruwa Kingdom, Sinhaladipa had three administrative divisions, namely; Ruhunu Rata, Pihiti Rata and Maya Rata, each sharing two transboundary rivers to facilitate trade and navigation.
          Your assertion that three ‘Ratas’ ruled by three kings is false. There was only one Sinhala king, and under him, three sub-kings governed Ruhunu, Pihiti and Maya Ratas.
          You may be surprised to learn that there never was a Jaffna Peninsula. The entire Northern Peninsula was our Sinhala Kingdom Nagadipa (Yapa Patuna as its capital) until the time of the Dutch.
          Those who still claim LTTE’s mythical separate state will have to pass me first.

          • 0
            0

            Jit
            Oooops, in the second paragraph, the word ‘first’ should be replaced with ‘fourth’ and read as follows:

            ‘For your information, ‘ancient Sri Lanka’ had a name. From the time of the FOURTH Buddha (Gothama) to the treacherous Kandyan Convention, Sri Lanka was known as ‘Sihaladwipa’ or ‘Sinhaladwipa’.
            .
            Additional information: 1. In the time of the First Buddha Kakusandha, Sri Lanka was known as ‘Ojadwipa’. 2. In the time of the Second Buddha Konaagama, Sri Lanka was known as ‘Waradwipa’. 3. In the time of the Third Buddha Kasyapa, Sri Lanka was known as ‘Mandadwipa’. (Reference: Pujavaliya)

          • 0
            0

            Champa, I am at a total loss to fathom what you are actually trying to prove here?? I said there were three different provinces that were ruled by three different kings, even before the British monarchy was born. You agree that there was a province based admin system in ancient Sri Lanka but try to window dress it with a term ‘sub-king’. Ok, whoever they were branded, my point was provincial administration was not a new thing for Sri Lankan history and you obviously had to admit that!

            I am not even getting into argument with any other points you so vividly described such as ancient Sri Lankan kings ruling India and Burma etc because they are absolute rubbish from our famous FICTION Mahawansa! Not even worth wasting my time on such fables!

  • 7
    3

    Constitution-making is a Solomon responsibility of skill -full people who would be recognized and accepted by all Sri Lankan majority and minority communities. However, this is not the case since Srima, J.R. up to Rajapakasa’s terms. What Gota would do the same joke once again for him to be safeguarded from any litigation in the future. The latest news coming from Mr. Biden, President of the U.S.A Who has treated Sri Lanka on par with Russia and China who are being eliminated; from his invitation for an International Conference of 109 other World Democratic countries to be held in Washington. What a plight for a dual citizen Mr . Gota!

  • 15
    5

    No need to waste anymore funds we dont have on elections.
    .
    If a federal consititution can be passed , The President can transfer his government ministers as Premiers and electrol ministers immidietly so they can go their electrol and serve the voters , this will save a huge amount of money we are so desperately in need.
    The Ceremonial President can contitnue for 8 years and the a general election can be held in 2024 , where people can elect the central.goverenment and provincial Premiers and Electrol ministers they must still be accountable to the parliment and the people to have the right to call on the parlimemt.to sack any of the provincial Premier or electrol Ministers if they have evidence of any misconduct or fail in their duty
    If fedralism does not happen,
    The kiniya like tragedys will never even end and those in the interior villager’s life of misery and injustice will never change..

    Fedralism is thee only answer and we need it like last night’s dinner time.
    If we do not see a fedral.system constitution,.supported by all. 225 members supporting.
    If it does not happen.now.under this President whom I.believe.can and if he does not.
    Then infutre I shall.consider the word Constitution.as irrellevent for Sri Lanka.
    No matter who is elected next

    • 8
      1

      Part I
      Fahim Knight,
      Your reference,
      “If a federal constitution can be passed, The President can transfer his government ministers as Premiers and electrol ministers immediately so they can go their electrol and serve the voters , this will save a huge amount of money we are so desperately in need.”
      I agree with your thoughts and will make the ‘efficient’ use of the surfeit of politicians – highest percentage increase in any profession in SL – and to save money
      Addressing another point articulated elsewhere, “When one party is given two thirds of the vote, it shows that the people do not really want a democracy.” None can ever predict the voter trend and habits, considering the fact that in 1970 and 1978 – 2 consecutive elections in SL – the voters gave 2/3rd and 4/5th majority to one party in the system.
      Consequence, almost 40 years of agony, crisis, 2 insurgencies and terrorism, not forgetting the murder, mayhem, abduction, torture and killings committed by those in power.
      They belong to both sides of the divide (Governments led by SLFP and UNP), would have taught the electors not to be enthusiastic giving 2/3rd majority.

    • 7
      2

      Part II
      As stated by you, with slight modification, suggest, that, Ceremonial President continues as long he commands the confidence of the parliament for 10 years (2 terms – Max).
      General Election as determined before in 2024 every 6 years, unless self-dissolved by resolution of 2/3 members and/or the resignation of the Executive Prime Minister and Head of Cabinet (executive) and Government thereof.
      No state Ministers. Deputy Ministers limited to 10 members to be appointed for selected ministries or clusters. Nothing more.
      Central government cabinet to be limited to 25 members including the Prime Minister
      My preference is for a Bi = Cameral Parliament. You may call it Senate or simply House of Review elected at the time of the parliamentary elections every five (6 years). The election to this body after the inauguration would be 3 years consisting of eminent persons in various professions and to be able to contribute to the Economic. Political, Technical, Humanitarian and Management fields of at least 25 years and contributed to their field of speciality.
      Notwithstanding anything stated herein, no one considered as loser of a parliamentary Provincial/State Government election, within 15 years thereof to be

      • 6
        1

        @Eagle eye .
        Have got not one single sensible and unbias comment to make besides your frequent poppycock?

      • 5
        1

        @Mahila,
        Its a very good proposal .
        I kindly request you to email it to HE The President, Hon.PM.and cc.To Hon.Minister of Justice.
        I sincerely hope we can.have more like minded on CT comments.
        Realy appreciate your well detailed proposal
        Pls keep it up. 😊

    • 6
      2

      Part III
      considered/elected/appointed to the Second house as ‘defeat’ as proclaimed above at the elections to National/PC/State elections prior to appointment is a mandatory and statutory disqualification thereof and has no reprieve or relief could be sought, in any other manner, whatsoever.
      The lower House of Representatives (HoR) of SL Parliament to be revert back to 180 members and National list members and their appointment abolished forthwith (Saving)
      MP’s to HOR to be provided with vehicle from the pool for their official use, a mobile phone, land phone to their electorate office and another fo the residence in the electorate. In addition they would be paid stipend for maintenance of themselves a sum not exceeding:-
      a) MP of HOR SL Rs 250,000.00
      b) Deputy Minister SLRs 300,000.00
      c) Minister SL Rs 400,000.00
      d) Prime Minister SL Rs 750,000.00
      e) HE President SL Rs 1,000,000.00
      f) Member of the Senate SL Rs 400,000.00 (same as Minister)
      g) Back up vehicles 1 each totaling 220 vehicles plus 3 each additional for HE, PM – Total back up 224 vehicles.
      h) The pool would have 40% extra (surplus for period of maintenance and repairs) approximately 90 vehicles only (Total 314 vehicles)

    • 6
      1

      Part IV
      Selling of duty free vehicles automatically vanished out of the window!
      Voters elect the Parliament/Central Government of SL. State/Provincial council/legislative assemblies in each state/province and the Leader of the State/province government will be Premier of the State/Province. Premiers of each province will appoint no more than 4 elected representative that he leads as Provincial/State ministers of his State Cabinet.
      The state Premier and Cabinet are independent of the Central or Federal government and could be held accountable by the Minister of Local Government and/or Provincial/State government and accountable to Parliament and through that process to the sovereign voters. They could be dismissed by the PM, supported by parliamentary resolution with 2/3 majority, with at least 4/5th of the total number of elected representatives participating in the vote to have the right to call on the parlimemt.to sack any of the provincial Premier or elected Ministers if they have evidence of any misconduct or fail in their duty
      This will ensure cross surveil of functions and curtail, if not eliminate, corruption, nepotism and better democratic norms.

    • 6
      1

      Part V
      Also each state to have Judiciary, comprising primary Magistrate and District courts, High Court and State Supreme court, in addition to the Federal Civil and Criminal Courts and High Courts with a Supreme court for each state.
      The final and highest appellate court is the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka at Hulftsdorp.
      This will ensure that courts decisions are tested in varied for a and makes their decision more closer to heart and Minds of voters, which far too distant from them now!
      Election to Upper House (2nd chamber) would be 10 members every 2 years after the initial first election for 30 members, to ensure it reflects the dynamics of the changing political landscape to be in consonance with the HoR, for better synchronised polity
      Has the Government/Opposition and independents got the heart, Mind, Soule and Stamina to do this?
      That is the 64 million dollar question to those elected and governing (Both Opposition and Government Politicians) at present.
      I will keep my wager secret and fingers crossed, until that fortunate moment!!

  • 10
    3

    Sri Lanka is not a democracy any more. When one party is given two thirds of the vote, it shows that the people do not really want a democracy. This constitution will confirm this.

  • 3
    4

    No number of constitutions can fix SL’s inherent divisions.

    Only real solution is to split the island into 3 mono ethnic nations and relocate people based on ethnicity.

    Until then no one will be happy with a constitution. There will be multiple laws for people based on their ethnicity and religion!!

    What a wasteland!

  • 7
    1

    Will the New Draft Constitution justify the expectations of the 13th Amendment?
    Will the New Constitution proceed towards One Law, One Country?
    Will there be Independence of Judiciary as it existed under the Soulboury Constitution?
    When Parliamentarians from foreign countries are observing silence as a mark of respect for the dead LTTE cadres in the Mullivaikkal incident, how will the New Draft Constitution deal with the sovereignty of Sri Lanka.
    Likewise will the new Draft Constitution define Human Rights and how will it deal with people engaged in violation of Human Rights. Recently some Western countries have expressed concerns for violations of Human Rights and have ignored Sri Lanka in inviting at forums.

  • 8
    1

    A new Constitution? Hell, NOOOOOO!!!!!
    Sri Lankan Parliament is full of misogynists.
    Democracy is under lockdown.
    Economic elites rule the country.
    Gotabhaya’s policies do not benefit the heartland of the nation.
    Those who voted Gotabhaya and Mahinda today struggle to meet basic needs.
    In addition to that, an utterly corrupt, utterly unpopular Rajapaksa government is in no way fit to introduce a new Constitution.
    In fact, Sri Lanka DOES NOT need a new Constitution.
    Gotabhaya was adamant that he should have executive powers to run the country, and introduced the 20th Amendment. Did it make any difference? Every decision made by him for the last two years is unpopular and controversial.
    Now, Mahinda wants to introduce a new Constitution. For what, may I ask? There is no reason other than to keep his family in power.
    I don’t understand why all UNPOPULAR governments want to introduce a new Constitution. First, Ranil & Maithri. Now, Gotabhaya & Mahinda. (Though grudgingly, I should commend Maithri for listening to the public and derailing Ranil’s attempt to enact six draconian sub-committee reports presented by the Federal Constitutional Assembly in November 2017).
    An UNPOPULAR government can never introduce a POPULAR Constitution.
    I am telling Mahinda, BACK OFF!

    • 3
      0

      Champa,
      “An UNPOPULAR government can never introduce a POPULAR Constitution.”
      The 1970 and the 1977 governments were popular 2/3rd and 5/6th Parliamentary majority when elected.
      The 1970 and 1977 constitutions were/are not popular.
      The were deriding the 1970 constitution within 7 years and the 1977 a little longer the same status became unpopular in the end.
      Difference is 1977 one has become difficult to replace, not because it is popular with the citizenry – the sovereign people (which should be the case of a states’ constitution).
      Hard, because it is popular with the people Ruling (those in the saddle) for obvious reason of self-serving the governing than the governed and the power wielded by them.
      These are so greedy gluttons’ enjoying the trip up at the helm with a party, corruption et all.
      It all depends, with whom is the constitution popular – Governing or the governed.
      It is a Paradox.
      It is not popular!!
      Therefore popular government cannot provide a popular constitution always.
      The constitution will be popular and adhered to, if the constitution making is open and subscribed by all stake holders equitably and continuously to produce a final document acceptable by all, not by a few!

      • 0
        0

        Mahila
        I don’t see any problem either with the 1972 Constitution or the 1978 Constitution except a few instances that discriminate against Sri Lanka’s native inhabitants, Sinhalese.
        ‘Flaws in the 1972 Constitution’:
        1) Changing the original, historical name of the country, Sihaladwipa to unknown Sri Lanka.
        2) Abandoning the original flag (could be the world’s first flag) for no reason.
        3) Introducing an ethnicity-based national flag that validates ethnic segregation.
        4) Introducing a national anthem influenced by India that does not reflect the world’s longest monarchical history of Rawanadwipa/Sihaladwipa or its first king Rawana, Irshis, Buddhas or Sinhalese Yakkha kings.
        .
        ‘Flaws in the 1978 Constitution’
        a) All of the above, and,
        b) Failure to accept Northern Sinhala Kingdom Nagadipa and its native inhabitants; Sinhalese traders and rice farmers, who were forcibly replaced with inflows of labour from South India for tobacco cultivation in the period of the Dutch.
        c) Adopting an extraordinary one-language policy in the Northern Province discriminating against the Sinhalese. The ludicracy of this clause is proved today with more Tamils living in Colombo (176,972) than in Jaffna (88,138).
        d) Establishing Provincial Councils and Divisional Councils that drain the public coffers to maintain an enormous number of useless council members, their families and friends.

  • 10
    2

    Decentralizing the only option left for Sri Lanka to develop.
    =========================

    Sri Lankans must step out of the delusion they were systematically and deceitfully dragged into.

    Decentralized governance has nothing to do with separatism.

    Its practical, it allows regional and local level administration to function effectively and make peoples lives easier and makes the federalized province and its district official responsible without the Central government having to take the blame.

    The 30 year war would never have happened if there was a federal system.

    Look at Malaysia the Country’s federal states are divided by the sea , have they not survived to date?

    It will lessen the burden on the Country.

    Federal provinces should be made fully responsible for whatever happens within, they should collect taxes and run their provinces and districts , of cause with access for loans from the central government and not as budget allocation,.they should prepare their own budget and steadily build their own reserves.

    Will the opposition agree and support if the government proposes a federal system?
    ===

    • 2
      7

      Fahim Knight,
      “Look at Malaysia the Country’s federal states are divided by the sea , have they not survived to date?”

      Malaysia did not have separatist Tamils. Malaysia is five times bigger than Sri Lanka. India has several separatist movements. Tamils have not given up separatism. Under CFA, Tamils were given a federal unit covering one third of the country to 11% of the population. They rejected that and went on killing Sinhalayo to get Eelam. So, no need to talk about federal system again.

      • 6
        0

        Fahim Knight,
        This is similar to the thinking of Sri Lankans to Corruption and nepotism.
        If the voters do not want to take a consorted effort to eradicate these 2 evlls, it will never erased from the SL Politicians and Sri Lanka.
        That’s my sincere conclusion.
        That is the case, so be it and I wish them well!
        Enjoy the fruits of your thoughts!!

      • 3
        0

        HI HLDM ‘AKA’ Eagle Eye,
        Yours.
        “Under CFA, Tamils were given a federal unit covering one third of the country to 11% of the population. They rejected that and went on killing Sinhalayo to get Eelam.”
        Let me take opportunity to refresh your memory.
        CFA was between GOSL and LTTE.
        Signed by RW and VP
        The CFA was rejected and annulled in 2007 or thereabout, BY INTERESTED PROTAGONIST, NOT DEFINITELY BY TAMILS, WHO WERE PEACE LOVING AS MUCH AS THE SINHALESE!
        The LTTE and GoSL, of which MR was the President, ‘won the 2006 election, by bribing LTTE’, de-enfranchising NE voters, using RTA funds for projects not completed!!
        Annulled by whom, LTTE/GOSL is contentious!
        Irrelevant to current issue, but Not Tamils
        Fact was CFA abrogated by the parties to it – LTTE or GOSL, in 2007. “God Only Knows, but None Other”! Quoting, Lordship, Ex CJ of SL, on “Disappeared Journalist” at Geneva UNHRC session.
        Conveniently adduced Tamils, prosecute your verbiage repeated ad nauseam. Probably attributable, ‘Covid 19 Aftermath Syndrome’, Memory loss and confusion, due Pandemic, affecting lot of people.
        “Blame reliable ally China for that!!”
        Fact is Tamils had NO PART to play in the failed CFA.”!

    • 1
      1

      Fahim K,
      Quite a few, believe/behave like an Ostrich!
      Their heads “buried in virtual sand pit”, not to face reality, whatever happens.
      Rain, Moon, Snow or Sunshine does not change the view!
      This is synonymous to many communities, not limited to Sri Lankans!!
      Sri Lankans have been brainwashed so well, they would not touch Federalism, or even devolution to separate provinces even with a ‘Barge Pole’.
      Sri Lankans reluctant to “see and experience” any Positives and Negatives of alternate system even with a ‘Sunset clause’ – for a limited 5 year period. They envision disintegration.
      The inculcation, that LTTE and Diaspora are waiting to “separate and divide” Sri Lanka into multiple ethnic enclaves, is foremost in their minds.
      Presumably, low intellect, knowledge and exposure, to experience of other countries.
      Even those of eminence, good standing in Sri Lankan Society, experienced the difference of a Federal and Unitary constitution (being residents of 2 countries with this distinction) seem reluctant to address and voice their experience, dispel misgivings of citizens!!
      It’s “Hard Ask”. Give Up
      Citizens, not convinced; then unworkable!!!
      “Constitution for the politicians”; Not Citizens!!! Centurion concept – 100years.
      None could force them, which is no avail, unless convinced as to positives!

  • 1
    2

    From Sangam….(gas sugar fuel garlic fertilizer rice building stupa……)
    .to on the street traffic police perks and santhosam is the essentials
    Have to have real statics how many of them has dual citizenship,and why all sort seeking shelter,but they all says proud to be Sri lankan and then also wants to be another stable steady citizenship as well.
    Most of the duals knows very well how the multi cultural works and how they inclusive as equal citizens and the contractions they make and make progress and attract the others to come settle and invest,(grateful for US lottery for our head and finance almost a foreigner for key post.)I wouldn’t blame the 69 but how these so called the other parties still silent,
    VP gone 12 yrs now where is the country stand now,
    Chased the Burghers,the Tamils…and now biting same fellows.
    What ever people are queuing up now we in the north had it with embargo no torch batteries,panadol but list goes on,
    If sangam concern about the mother Lanka bring Nagananda Kodituwaku
    Foam interior govnt for 52 days (as in the past it’s make legal no action taken joke in it)exclude useless Sajth and Thambias of any.

    • 2
      4

      cugan,
      “Chased the Burghers,the Tamils…”

      No one chased Burghers or Tamils. Burghers took the advantage from ‘White Australian’ policy and went to Australia and Tamils deliberately created clashes with indigenous Sinhalayo and went to ‘Greener Pastures’ as asylum seekers.

      • 2
        0

        HLDM,
        Please also add as ‘Eye Opener for wider vision’, “Patriotic indigenous Sinhalayo claimants, deliberately claimed the Insurgencies (2 times caused by, under privileged Sinhala youth lack of opportunities for employment due to bad education and training systems by inept governance and and maladministration, in spite of standardisation) caused migration to greener pastures to Australia, Canada for solely economic reasons, lifestyle as ‘asylum seekers’!!

  • 7
    1

    Hello people, we don’t need a bloody new constitution!! This is all eye washing BS!! Just give the democracy that we enjoyed before 1970! Let people choose their leaders without election rigging! Let free media and judiciary run!! Cancel the executive Presidency! Restore the normalcy – ditch this eccentric lunacy!! As simple as that!!

  • 5
    0

    In India there is no dual citizenship,because that’s the escape route.and lead to more fiddle and interest.

  • 10
    1

    It is not about stand or sitting for the rights.

    It is about coming together as one people and proposing to the whole cabinet a Constition that suits the country’s needs.

  • 0
    0

    This must be the only instance in recorded History that an Ex: Colonel in the Army has thought of a New Constitution……….. To be thrust down the throats of the people:
    Those who have been entrusted with this exercise are well known for their views on Majoritarianism…………Romesh de Silva P.C, Manohara de Silva P.C AND OF-COURSE Gerry Pieris EX. Prof: Geography Peradeniya.

    Timeo danos et dona ferrentes……………
    I fear the Greeks even when bringing gifts……………..

  • 4
    0

    A new constitution, even one that everyone agrees on, won’t work. The same old politicians will simply manipulate it in their favour. It may be more difficult to do, but they will manage it. They’ve had decades of experience. What is needed is not a new constitution but upright politicians.

  • 3
    0

    @MAHILA ,
    All Humans are born with free will ,all are rational but regretful , their set beliefs and
    superiority complex filled with egoism have created a viel that does not permit them to see beyound their boarders and their minds have become numbed with the chains of set beliefs, they have stopped using their natural human rational thinking and unwilling to even tolerate multiple interpretations and accept anything new.
    It is more about being afraid of light than darkness.
    Cont

    • 1
      0

      Part I
      FK
      Agree with you on the cause of the present state of affairs in SL
      However,
      “superiority complex filled with egoism have created a viel that does not permit them to see beyond their boarders and their minds have become numbed with the chains of set beliefs, they have stopped using their natural human rational thinking and unwilling to even tolerate multiple interpretations and accept anything new.”
      Convinced that caused, mainly SL Education System. Closed, if i may call it, cocooned in myths with a narrow vision, not open minded to manifest and nurture young minds to think freely, during the formative years, opportunity to test their opinions and conclusions over time, before maturing as adults.
      Test papers styled as “Yes, No and Tick the box” answers also contributed. Every situation has no Right and wrong situations.
      This was compounded by the Language policy, causing segregation, not ‘inter-mingling
      Not widen thought process!
      Denied access to reference books, which were in an alien English Language within a decade of ‘Switch’, and all the might of the “Kings men and Horses harnessed could not produce the requirement of “Swabasha” Reference Books let alone Text Books”
      Akin to fertiliser policy!!

    • 1
      0

      Part II
      Then the mentality of,
      “You are my enemy’s, enemy, therefore you are definitely my friend, without question or doubt!” This only opportunistic narrow minded vision and thought!!
      It is not that simple and straight forward too. Every situation is different and needs insight.
      That is non-existent in the country. They have conclusions and solutions so fast, without deep study of the subject and wider consultation.
      Parliamentarians and Ministers of various subjects come to think that overnight they have become experts on governance and the subject of their ministries, better than the experts of 30 years.
      Well they are in the process of realising the truth. Late but welcome with both hands ‘cupped’, in salute
      It sure takes another 3 years for the voters to be their dear “Darlings”, to repeat Mohan Peiris’s famous uttering, “I will do as you command” to the downtrodden voters, that’s the only time they are Sovereign and Reigning!!!
      Post-election, they become enslaved to their own MP’s or ‘Hamu’ as they wish to be called indicator of the maturity of “D E M O Crazy”, in Sri Lanka the resplendent Isle, southern tip of the subcontinent, in the Indian Ocean
      Hopefully will improve in future.

  • 3
    0

    @MAHILA ,
    There is no such a thing called total democracy , any nation who claims so are all who have chained their peoples minds in a bogus freedom which is more destructive.

    Real democracy is based on freedom of speech that is none damaging , civilized , truth and nothing but truth , constructive critisizm,right to practice ones beliefs , dietry, attires of chosen identity , equal opportunity in trade and employment, free to live in any part of the country and not ganged up by racists , religous and other bigots to harras and threatened because you are different by race , religous beliefs and think different and gender bias .
    The law must protect and respect everyone.

    Democracy is the best form of governence,yet if it has no practical laws to check it ,.you will endup giving the racists , bigot and criminals the country and people who are vulnerable on a platter to be abused and persecuted.
    Cont.

  • 1
    0

    @MAHILA,
    You need a leader with iron within, not caring to bow down to party members to allow presure, nor let them blackmail you, no matter how much you do to your fellow country men ,.you will always have a segment you can never ever satisfy even if you offer them the moon in one hand and the sun in thee other.
    You should be willing to
    coerce the people to accept the federal system eith a new constition protecting all citizens with uncompromizing laws enacted , not using violent proceedures or locking up people ,but make them pay making holes in their pockets that they will never dare to even think of repeating it.

    I always considered Prisons and Zoos are maintaintained and approved by nations that promoted sadistic attitude to
    fullfil the enjoyment of seeing pain in others by a set of individuals.
    ===
    The only country I have seen this sucessfully to a great extend is Singapore , yet it does not mean its free of evil people , but they will not be forgiven if they break.the law.

  • 1
    0

    Part II
    Then the mentality of,
    “You are my enemy’s, enemy, therefore you are definitely my friend, without question or doubt!” This only opportunistic narrow minded vision and thought!!
    It is not that simple and straight forward too. Every situation is different and needs insight.
    That is non-existent in the country. They have conclusions and solutions so fast, without deep study of the subject and wider consultation.
    Parliamentarians and Ministers of various subjects come to think that overnight they have become experts on governance and the subject of their ministries, better than the experts of 30 years.
    Well they are in the process of realising the truth. Late but welcome with both hands ‘cupped’, in salute
    It sure takes another 3 years for the voters to be their dear “Darlings”, to repeat Mohan Peiris’s famous uttering, “I will do as you command” to the downtrodden voters, that’s the only time they are Sovereign and Reigning!!!
    Post-election, they become enslaved to their own MP’s or ‘Hamu’ as they wish to be called indicator of the maturity of “D E M O Crazy”, in Sri Lanka the resplendent Isle, southern tip of the subcontinent, in the Indian Ocean
    Hopefully improve in future.

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