02 September 2020
All Non-Buddhist Leaders in Sri Lankan Parliament are Unlawful Entrants
I have been thinking and writing about the imbalance of the Sri Lankan constitution due to Article 9 which recognizes Buddhism as the foremost religion. It was only yesterday that I completed my role as De Facto Politician. It was Poya day yesterday, and I believe that I connected to the consolidated mind of the true Buddhists in Sri Lanka. The penny dropped when I mentally put myself through the process of a Sri Lankan politician taking oaths to uphold the Constitution. If I had done so from 1972, I, a practicing Hindu would have been lying to myself and therefore to the People who are my other half. The simple reason is that it would be unethical for a Hindu to promote Buddhism. The penny dropped this morning and I realised that as per Sri Lankan Constitution, no Non-Buddhist could be in Sri Lankan Parliament. Articles 10 and 14(1)(e) require the Buddhist government to ensure that Non-Buddhists had their freedom to practice their own beliefs. But that responsibility is specifically with those who by belief are Buddhists.
The current Minister for Justice in Sri Lanka who is apparently a Muslim is reported to have stated as follows:
[The Minister said that they had to abide by the Article Nine of the Constitution which gave first and foremost place to Buddhism. “Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14(1)(e)”. The Article 10 of Constitution says that every person is entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice. Article 12 of the Constitution says that no citizen shall be discriminated against on the grounds of race, religion, language, caste, sex, political opinion, place of birth or any one of such grounds. “Now, the time for everyone to read and understand them,”] The Island
To the extent Dr Sabry accepted the responsibility, he was promoting his senior – the President who is a Buddhist. But to take oath to uphold the Constitution he has to be a Buddhist. I learnt through my Land case in Colombo that Buddhists did not swear in a court of law. They affirm. Our lawyer Mr Manoharan who paid his respects to Mr Wigneswaran as his senior shared this observation with me. The reason could be the absence of their bible in written form in which the above Buddha Sasana has been written. Mr Wigneswaran also would have had knowledge of this. If he were a true Hindu, Mr Wigneswaran would not have sworn to uphold the Constitution which requires him to as a member of Parliament to give Buddhism the foremost place and to protect and foster Buddha Sasana. He needs to be a Buddhist to do so. Facilitating practices of Non-Buddhists is a Constitutional duty of Buddhists. When they fail – they can be taken to the Courts. Thus the Judiciary is the space where Non-Buddhists can legitimately oppose the government through their self-governing powers.
This then makes the Election process null and void. No Non-Buddhist is entitled to participate in elections to become a member of a Buddhist government. This article has been carried forward from the 1972 Constitution where it was Article 6. It happened under the leadership of Mrs Bandaranaike whose coalition won 116 seats in Parliament at the 1970 Parliamentary elections. As per Wikipedia, the mandate presented to the People was ‘Replacement of the British-imposed, monarchical Soulbury constitution with a republican constitution.’
But the 1972 Constitution was Monarchical through Buddhism. It confirmed also ‘Sinhala Only’ as official language. When one is pampered by custodian of power – one becomes dependent and the votes of such dependents are assured. Tamil intellectual leader the Hon G G Ponnambalam lost in the 1970 elections. But he did not lose his spirit of independence. It is doubtful that he would have taken oaths to uphold Buddhism as the foremost religion.
The oath that a Parliamentarian takes is in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution:
"I,…………...........................…………… do solemnly declare and affirm / swear that I will uphold and defend the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and that I will not, directly or indirectly, in or outside Sri Lanka, support, espouse, promote, finance, encourage or advocate the establishment of a separate State within the territory of Sri Lanka.”
As Dr Sabry has interpreted – this requires every parliamentarian to uphold Buddhism as first religion and every Parliamentarian has the duty to promote Buddha Sasana.
Section 44(1) of the Australian Constitution effectively prevents such duality. It states:
[Any person who -
(i.) Is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.]
It was under this provision that many Australian Parliamentarians who were dual citizens became ineligible to be in Parliament. This included the then deputy Prime Minister Mr Barnaby Joyce:
[On 27 October 2017, the High Court ruled that Joyce had been ineligible to be a candidate for the House of Representatives at the time of the 2016 election, since he had been a dual citizen at that time, and that his election was therefore invalid. The ruling cast doubt on the validity of ministerial decisions made after August 2017.]
If I am a Hindu Leader by belief – I cannot acknowledge allegiance to any other religion. If I did – so acknowledge – I become a liar. A citizen can believe in one at one time and the other at another. Hence as a dual citizen I can be Australian believer at one time and Sri Lankan believer at another. But not both at the same time. Since leaders have to have one mind, they cannot be dual citizens. If they do take such positions – it is a lie and they mislead.
In the case of majority Sri Lankan Political leaders they seek One Religion and One Language only in leadership. There is nothing wrong with that. That requires the Parliament to be Unitary in religious and language pathways. This was Buddhist-Sinhala leadership prior to the 13th Amendment. Now it is Buddhist only leadership due to article 9.
Every law abiding Non-Buddhist Sri Lankan has to therefore resign from the Parliamentary leadership position. There was no mandate for them to enter parliament in the first instance. The Election commission failed to reject their nominations on that basis. The Minister for Justice has to follow in the footsteps of Australians and refer this matter to Court. It is a far more serious constitutional crisis than the one we had in 2018. Until this is settled one way or the other – all such Non-Buddhist leaders have the responsibility to assemble in the Public gallery of the Parliament.
If the Court rules for them to continue – then all other democratic nations have to separate themselves from any relationship with Sri Lanka – which is not entitled to Aid from democratic nations. One has to be a relative through common belief based structure to ‘give’ or ‘receive’ without any material return. Any giving and taking outside this boundary amounts to quid pro quo.
If Sri Lankan leaders are committed to Buddhist leadership – they have the duty to resign from their positions through Democratic pathway. Those Non-Buddhist leaders who have taken oaths – are cheating their people if they do not resign. They would also promote another war preceded by civil riots of the kind witnessed in 1983. Each time when the government gets the power to lead democratically – but used it to pamper by promoting majority culture by showing it in the first law – the constitution – every true believer – including in that culture – would automatically oppose such leadership. THAT is People’s power and it saw the fall of both major parties in the past. All because they USED majority power to benefit and failed to RESPECT it as belief.