By Lakshman Indranath Keerthisinghe
A ruler’s duty in the internal administration of the country is three fold: raksha or protection of the state from external aggression, palana or maintenance of law and order within the state and yogakshshema or safeguarding the welfare of the people. -Kautilya-The Arthashastra
This column dedicated to the notion of fulfilling the aspirations of Sri Lankan society turns its spotlight on the recent deplorable political criminal intimidation of a Magistrate at Mannar by a Minister and the emergence of the diabolical specter of mob rule in Sri Lanka as Sri Lankan society would aspire to be rid of such political intimidation and interference with judicial independence in our land.
The President has been reported in the media as saying that he too is a lawyer and would not permit anyone to mock the law after the disgraceful conduct of a Minister at Mannar resulting in severe damages being caused to the Mannar Courts by a pack of goons but the stark fact is the Minister who intimidated the judicial officer still remains at large without the long arm of the law being able to reach the said politician.
As Kautilya, one of the greatest intellectuals produced by India said palana or maintenance of law and order within the state is one of the supreme duties of a ruler or a regime. If a politician is permitted to get off leniently after committing a serious threat to the law and order situation in the country it will undoubtedly pave the way for the ultimate breakdown of law and order in our country.
The present regime appears to have failed in the performance of its supreme duty of palana or maintenance of law and order within the state as evidenced by the severe decline of the rule of law in Sri Lanka in the recent past. Although some Cabinet Ministers have said that no one is above the law in this country it is evident that politicians like the said Minister at Mannar and goons like Julampitiye Amare appear to be above the law in our islands paradise.
A large stone hurled by the mob of goons at Mannar had broken the window pane of the Honourable Magistrate’s Chamber and landed on his table as shown in photographs published in the media. It is divine intervention that had saved the courageous judicial officer from death. This column applauds and salutes the courage displayed by the Honourable Magistrate of Mannar for upholding the principles of justice and not being intimidated by hooligans in the garb of Ministers.
The fate of that great gentleman, who was the Chief Justice of Uganda at the time of that brutal dictator Idi Amin who was the President of Uganda comes to mind. Idi Amin telephoned the then Chief Justice of Uganda and wanted a British Journalist brought before the Supreme Court of Uganda on false charges to be sentenced to imprisonment just as the Minister at Mannar had intimidated the learned Magistrate to change his ruling.
The Chief Justice discharged the journalist as there was no evidence just as the learned Magistrate at Mannar refused to change his order and immediately afterwards a squad of goons sent by Idi Amin took the Chief Justice from his chambers and assassinated His Lordship in a staged motor car accident and in the same manner a bunch of goons led by the politician attacked the Mannar Courts and the learned Magistrate narrowly escaped death.
It has been reported that the megalomaniac Idi Amin intoxicated with absolute power got the brain of the Chief Justice to be sent to his palace after the autopsy and had the brain for dinner.
The brute Idi Amin, who lacked sufficient intelligence as evidenced by his actions but knew only the art of violence and intimidation may have thought to acquire some intelligence by eating the brain of an intellectual. Up to the date of extermination of all humanity that great judicial officer will be venerated and revered by human beings all over the world for His Lordship’s courage in delivering impartial justice but the brute Idi Amin according to all religious beliefs would be rotting in hell for a long period of time to come.
Lawyers all over Sri Lanka have protested over the unprecedented incidents at Mannar as this is the first occasion that a Court house has been damaged by a mob incited by a politician as reported in the media.
If this incident is also to be swept under the carpet like all other past incidents concerning errant politicians it will ring the death knell of the rule of law in Sri Lanka.
The diabolical spectre of mob rule and anarchy would very soon emerge in greater strength which would become detrimental to the regime itself as was seen in Libya and the unfortunate fate of Muammar Qaddafi on the streets of Libya. Just paying lip service and making statements that wrong-doers will be brought to justice and no one is above the law and uttering packs upon packs of lies to safeguard errant politicians and hoodwink the public by the politicians will make the situation worse.
The people of Sri Lanka are not that foolish to be fooled or taken for a ride all the time although some may have been fooled for some time. The Sri Lankans all over the world now await justice to be not only done in their land but also seem to be done by the regime.
A team of seven lawyers have applied to the Court of Appeal to order the arrest of the Minister concerned for contempt of court in order that the due process of law is preserved. The Bar Association of Sri Lanka considered the said event at its Bar Council meeting held yesterday and decided on appropriate steps to be taken in this regard.
As usual let me conclude with an amusing anecdote. A driver caught speeding was brought before a judge. The judge said “What will you take, thirty days or a hundred dollars.” The accused said:”I think I will take the money.” courtesy: The Sunday Leader