25 October, 2020

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Which Part Of The 1978 ‘Tomfoolery’ Is To Be Retained?

By Basil Fernando

Basil Fernando

Basil Fernando

The frequently asked question nowadays is whether the government intends to create a new constitution, or whether it will amend the 1978 Constitution. It is thus pertinent to recall the statement made by former Supreme Court Judge C. V. Wigneswaran (now Governor of the Northern Province), that the constitutional crisis of Sri Lanka is a product of tomfoolery with the constitution.

In several publications, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) demonstrated that the 1978 Constitution not in fact based on the Gaullist model of the French Constitution, as claimed. The late Dr. Colvin R. de Silva stated that this constitution was not based on any great tradition, but is very similar to that created by Jean-Bédel Bokassa of the Central African Republic.

The Guardian (London) referred to Bokassa as

… One of Africa’s most brutal dictators, accused of cannibalism and feeding his opponents to animals … was the self-crowned emperor of the Central African Republic (CAR) until he was ousted in 1979. He fathered 62 children and his coronation, based on that of Napoleon, cost his country’s entire GDP….”

Simply put, Bokassa was a political madman, who abandoned every known principle of governance to suit his personal ambitions, and as a result created a great crisis for his nation, lasting for many years.JR Jayewardene

J. R. Jayewardene crowned himself President in 1978, although he was only elected to be the Prime Minister. He displaced all the basic principles of a democratic republic, and created a sort of governance that brought about chaos that no political leader thereafter has learnt how to get rid of.

In its classical meaning, the constitution of a democratic republic is based on a set of principles interwoven with all the state’s basic institutions of governance. If any one of these principles were removed, it would no longer be a democratic republic.

President Jayewardene removed almost all the principles on which democratic governance is based. Aspiring to be like a monarch, he abandoned the idea of a republic, which does not allow for the centralization of power in the hands of a single individual. He attacked and undermined the principle of separation of powers and the exercise of checks and balances by removing the powers of judicial review, and making the judiciary an inferior branch of governance. He displaced the principle of the supremacy of law and the rule of law by arrogating to himself the power to make any law he thought fit to make. With a 5/6th vote in parliament, he boasted that the only thing he could not do is to make a man a woman, or vice versa. The political chaos that his actions generated led only to the surfacing of violence and the collapse of the state itself.

Hence, we must reflect on whether Jayewardene’s constitution can be amended to create the foundation for a sustainable form of governance based on democratic principles. An amendment would only mean the creation of a constitution that is a logical contradiction, resulting in even more confusion.

When something is discarded as nonsense, it should be discarded in its entirety. Partial displacement of nonsense amounts to the creation of another form of nonsense.

The tomfoolery that J. R. Jayewardene engaged in, which was continued with by successive presidents, must be brought to a complete halt. There is hardly anything more to debate on this matter.

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Latest comments

  • 3
    1

    Mr. Basil Fernando, I enjoy reading your articles because it is full of well gathered information with simple logic. Keep up the good work.

  • 2
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    Looking at the unusual anatomy, I just remembered an analysis by a young UNP politician (Meril Kariyawasam?), comparing the noses of J.R. Jayawardena and Indira Gandhi. He happily concluded, she Aryan, he Aryan, Hindi people Aryan, Sinhala people Aryan, I Aryan!

    • 1
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      JR Jayawardene’s origin descended from a family of the Colombo Chetty Community who trace their origins to the Coromondel Coast India during Dutch rule (mid 17th cent.). Several generations before the birth of Don Adrian, a male member of his ancestors had married a Sinhalese lady by the name of Jayawardena from the village of Welgama near Hanvalla about 20 miles from Colombo. It was from that time that the family took the Sinhalese name of Jayewardene. The Sinhalese belief that they are of Aryan origin is a myth, because if one looks physically at any Sinhalese, he is more than 90% Dravidian and all mercenaries who arrived for various tasks for the Kings and various invasions that took place in history. Coromondel coast is now known as Kerala belonging to the southern Dravidian States. JR and his family were originally Christians and converted to Buddhism for Political necessity. Kerala is predominantly a Christian region that the Pope never fails to visit while in India.

      • 0
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        @Spark

        Very intriguing. What does an “Aryan” look like ? For that matter, what does a “Dravidian” look like ?

        • 1
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          maalumiris

          “Very intriguing. What does an “Aryan” look like ? For that matter, what does a “Dravidian” look like ?”

          Both look, sound and behave just like a stupid.

      • 1
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        His family history was well documented by James T Rutnam in an article called the legacy of a Thombu mudaliyar. You are absolutely right but what you omitted from Mr Rutnams article was that his ancestor after marrying this Jayawardena lady was a servant in Governor Driebergs house. He was so good the Governor made him a Thombu mudaliyar. With the advent of the English he was sent to spy. He became a double spy and when the English took over the country he got a lucrative post. He also mentions that the jayawardenas were in Dutch reform church, then became anglicans and with the independence became buddhist for political reasons. He goes on to say that if the country is ruled by muslims jayawardena would have been a muslim. He ends the article by saying God Save Sri Lanka if ever Jayawardena was to become its leader. How Right!

      • 1
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        what you didn’t say from James T Rutnams article The legacy off a Thombu Mudaliyar. After marrying the jayawardena lady he became a servant in Governor Driebergs house .Governer Drieberg made him a Thombu Mudaliyar He was sent to spy on the English but became a double spy. With english retaining power he got a lucrative post. He goes on to say that jayawardena was in the dutch reform church, Then became anglicans under the British became buddhist after independence. He goes on to say that if ever Muslims were to be running this country he would have been muslim. He goes on to say God Save Sri Lanka if ever JR was to become its leader. How Right!

      • 0
        0

        what you didn’t say from James T Rutnams article The legacy off a Thombu Mudaliyar. After marrying the jayawardena lady he became a servant in Governor Driebergs house .Governer Drieberg made him a Thombu Mudaliyar He was sent to spy on the English but became a double spy. With english retaining power he got a lucrative post. He goes on to say that jayawardena was in the dutch reform church, Then became anglicans under the British became buddhist after independence. He goes on to say that if ever Muslims were to be running this country he would have been muslim. He goes on to say God Save Sri Lanka if ever JR was to become its leader. How Right!

  • 1
    1

    JRJ invented the biggest political millstone round the neck of Ma Lanka when he invented the Provincial Councils.

    Thus he ruined the entire political, social and economic prosperity of all unborn generations.
    We are experiencing the repercussions – bloated idiotic unwanted bureaucracy, unnecessary expenditure, murderous political rivalry, racial riots which led to a civil war, and consequences.

    Some say that he was ‘intimidated’ by Rajiv Ghandi.

  • 2
    5

    Basil Fernando has said nothing significant. Referring to Bokassa was in bad taste. The real tomfoolery with the constitution was in 1972 when Mrs Bandaranayake introduced the first republican constitution. When hot air passes for critical comment the write’s credibility becomes questionable.

  • 4
    0

    Nothing of the redundant time-serving constitutions of the last century should be retained. Sri Lanka has entered a new century; the need of this time is to reconcile and rebuild. A NEW constitution for the future should now engage the best minds we have or can muster, working with sincerity and not in hock to vested communal interests. Ideally, it should be secular (though safeguarding the rights of all who believe, or not), it should be unifying, and it should respect our Republican status.

    Rohan has made an interesting comparison of the nose; so Aryan. It is not the nose or any other appendage that will take us to new heights. I pray that the people who determine our future will have brains, heart, and most of all, a strong and straight backbone.

  • 5
    0

    JR started the downfall indeed. Politicians shine if they are statesman- like.If they come to parliament to make a living, It would be useless to the people. 99 percent of our parliamentarians are such.

    ‘With a 5/6th vote in parliament, he boasted that the only thing he could not do is to make a man a woman, or vice versa’.

    One more thing he could not stop is his death.

    Re new constitution, hope sense will prevail in the design of the new constitution.

  • 1
    0

    “Which Part Of The 1978 ‘Tomfoolery’ Is To Be Retained?” When a
    A HUMAN RIGHTS “BOKASSA” WRITES ABOUT A POLITICAL “BOKASSA’- that part.

    Asian Human Rights is all talk and no substance.
    Basil F’do was recently spotted hanging aound in Kandy under the Yahapalanaya.. What was he doing there? looking for or doing? Associating with Cassock wearing BOKASSA’S in Sri Lanka?

    Fernando & AHRC knows everything but unable to put into practice.
    The paymasters awarding all possible awards to uplift the man so that he will follow His (pay)Master’s Voice. verywell tamed.

    Wonder whether he met that person called the Rathu ali Patiya as he has turned out to be more democratic than the Democrats.

  • 0
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    [Edited out]

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