Colombo Telegraph

The National List Fraud

By Nagananda Kodituwakku

Nagananda Kodituwakku

An in-depth investigation conducted into the National List provision (Article 99A) introduced to the Constitution on 04th May 1988, reveals that there had been an instance of abuse of people’s Executive and Legislative power in unimaginable scale by the then government headed by the President JR Jayewardene.

The then Prime Minster, R Premadasa, who had introduced this bill in Parliament had stated that the 14th Amendment was the result of the deliberations of the Select Committee on Franchise and Elections, which had the approval of all members of the Select committee. Referring to the 14th amendment agreed by all parties the Prime Minister had stated that it was a product of constructive and collective thinking on the part of a broad segment of political opinion.

Yet, in the statement made in the Parliament the Prime Minister had conceded the presence of two bills on the 14th amendment in circulation amongst the members, one agreed by all party select committed and the other bill, which permitted party secretaries to nominate defeated candidate to enter the Parliament through the National List.

It is thought provoking to note that the Prime Minister who presented the bill only relied on the bill approved by the all-party select committed. In fact, referring to the ‘National List’ MPs, the Prime Minister had informed the house that. “… Names of the Party nominees are known beforehand and that the voter are aware of the identity of the candidates of the different Parties who are to be elected as National Members…”

Having managed to discover the bill the Prime Minister supported at the Parliament, which was approved by all party select committee, I can now reveal with confidence that it contain no provision whatsoever for the defeated candidates to enter Parliament through the back door, through the National List.

Who had inserted this clause to the 14th Amendment and got it ratified by the speaker who had no power to ratify a bill containing any provision that would takes away sovereign powers of the citizens (enshrined in Article 3 of the Constitution). The law on this point is absolutely clear. Sri Lanka is a representative democracy and in a situation of this nature there shall be a referendum held to obtain people’s mandate to that effect, the result of which should have been ratified by the President and not by the Speaker to make it law of the land.

The million-dollar question is who is responsible for this gross abuse of people’s executive and legislative power and what are remedies available to the people now to rectify this gross violation of their sovereign rights by the very same people elected to office on trust?

People who voted for President Sirisena had a faith in him that he would put the failed administration back track; guide the vessel ‘Mother Lanka’ in the right direction. This hope however just faded away within a matter of few months.

And this backdrop there is a huge responsibility vests on the concerned citizens to raised their voice against the lawlessness administration that blatantly abuse people sovereign rights. As the former Auditor General, Sarath Mayadunne, elected as a MP, through the National List but resigned has correctly said it is sad but true that the majority of the people of this country are still not concerned about the abuses takes place in unimaginable scale. Their unthinkable tolerance of robbing the wealth of mother Lanka by politico cheats with a scant respect to the Rule of Law is the undeniable truth for falling apart of this island nation.

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