by Karu Jayasuriya M.P
We witness that the Government is behaving dictatorially at present without paying heed to public opinion or democratic principles. When it becomes a daily occurrence, we are unable to remain silent any longer. The way the government behaves forebodes threat to the democracy in the country.
It is obvious that the Executive is heading towards one person, one party rule under the cover of the immense powers bestowed through the 18th Amendment. Process has been already commenced to convert the Executive President to a constitutional monarch.
Today we see a situation in our Sri Lankan society where the rule of law is deteriorating, there is an unprecedented increase in social abuse, abuse of young girls, incidences of rape. Some of the Provincial Politicians have been indicted in the Court of law for these crimes. Anarchy is spreading overall sections of society. It is sad to note that this has gone into the schools as well.
We experience before our own eyes the result of politicization of the state machinery, instead of adopting democratic principles. We forebode the shadows of a dark period through the interference to the judiciary. When the independence of the judiciary is lost, in such a country dictatorship reigns over democracy.
We condemn the character assassination of the Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission through the state media, subsequent to the newspaper advertisement published by him regarding the interference to the judiciary.
It was reported in the media that Mr. Manjula Thilakaratne, Secretary is a junior officer not suitable to hold the post. There have been similar appointments in earlier occasions. A brother of a former Chief Justice too held this post.
We appreciate the action taken by the judicial service commission consisting of senior judges of the Supreme Court and chaired by the Chief Justice, to inform the people of this country regarding the obstacles faced by the judiciary. It is a great relief to us who have immense hope for democracy to prevail.
There is a procedure to be followed if there are allegations against the Secretary of the Judicial Services Commission or any other officer of the judiciary. When the Executive character assassinates, using state media instead of following the procedure, it is apparent that the government has embarked on a policy when confronted with situations disadvantageous, to suppress the state officials who act according to their conscience. We salute and pay our respect to the Chief Justice and the judiciary for the effort to safeguard the independence of the judiciary. We have received information that there is an attempt to sling mud at them in the guise of false accusations.
The government has put into operation very strongly a process to destroy those institutions and persons who hold dissenting views against the government. Character assassinations aimed by the state media against the walk organized by the FUTA, is deplorable. There were mean accusation against the members of FUTA including its President Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri. He was accused of being a member of the EPRLF.
Day before yesterday the government accused Dr. Mahim Mendis, Secretary of FUTA, connecting him to LTTE terrorists, saying that he is being lead by the Diaspora in Australia. These professionals are carrying on a struggle based on principles. General Sarath Fonseka who was praised as the best Commander in the world after the war was labelled as a thief and a traitor when he contested the Presidential Election. The government had made it a practice to label as LTTE countries and individuals those who hold opposing views.
We are aware that “Divi Neguma” bill is contrary to the objectives of the 13th Amendment. The judiciary recommended that it should get the integral approval of the Provincial Councils. Hence, it should obtain the consent of the people of the North. When peace prevails after the defeat of terrorism, Governor’s approval does not reflect public opinion.
If it is possible to hold Presidential Elections and Parliamentary Elections, why does the government hesitate to hold elections after the war for North Provincial Council, in order to give democratic rights to the people of the North. We do not oppose the development process of the Government or the objects which the government expects to fulfil through “Divi Neguma”. But when the bill is harmful to the objects of Provincial Councils and the funds to the value of Rs.80,000 million are subjected to the authority of the minister without any transparency, we cannot agree to the bill.
The Minister should traditionally take up the bill for discussion at the advisory committee and act after listening to the opinions of the opposition. We oppose the attempt to pass the bill utilising the 2/3 majority, being intoxicated with power.
The United National Party which introduced the Executive Presidential system decided to amend it having recognized the good and bad of it. This proposal was passed at the Conference held at Wattala after the last Presidential Election. We fully opposed the 18th Amendment.
In our view the time has come to rally round the masses to find solutions to the problems ailing the country, through a realistic political programme to abolish the Executive Presidential system.
The President said recently that he will protect the independence of the judiciary. We emphasize that this should be made a reality without limiting it to mere words or a media display. We pledge to all in the judiciary that we will dedicate ourselves to defeat whatever the action taken against the independence of the judiciary.
(Text of statement issued at press Conference on 3rd October 2012 held by Mr.Karu Jayasuriya ,Senior UNP MP for Gampaha District )