Saturday 2 July 2022



02 July 2022

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

 A Sri Lankan Diaspora leader in Australia sent me the following yesterday:

TWENTY SECOND AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION BILL Ordered to be published by the Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms PRINTED AT THE DEPARTMENT OF GOVERNMENT PRINTING, SRI LANKA TO BE PURCHASED AT THE GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS BUREAU, COLOMBO 5 Price : Rs. 72.00 Postage : Rs. 35.00 to amend the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

A quick read confirmed that the changes were largely to go back to Parliamentary system away from the Presidential system. I could not identify with the amended constitutional after the proposed changes. To me, structures are important in any institution. Most of us begin with family structures. Positions are different parts of the structure. Laws connect those different parts.

Within a  Constitutional structure  there are fundamental founding positions. In a simple family structure – they are the Mother and Father. In the traditional structure father represented the family to wider world and mother quietly empowered the whole family through self-sacrifice. Those who sacrifice at personal level – for the common good of all – are the mothers. It is the duty of all those who are so empowered, to respect the mother – as we do with the queen.

In Sri Lanka, those who forewent earned benefits, including due to discrimination – are the mothers. Those who represented their respective local institutions on the basis of the whole group of believers– are the fathers. To the extent both are true to the respective positions – the system would work on the basis of Natural powers.

Given that the President of Sri Lanka holds the Father position, the Prime Minister is the mother who empowers the whole Parliamentary structure.

The proposed amendments include the following:

[Article 44 of the Constitution is hereby amended as follows:–

(1) in paragraph (1) of that Article– (a) by the substitution, for the words “in consultation with the Prime Minister, where he considers such consultation to be necessary-” of the words “on the advice of the Prime Minister-”;

In other words this confirms that the Prime Minister is the Mother who unites the family/nation.

It is now the duty of the citizens to vote for the father in Presidential elections and for the mother in Parliamentary elections. In a strange way the current leadership confirms this picture.

This did not happen merely by voting process. It happened due to belief based Opposition by citizens at their respective levels. Democracy is based on belief of the Citizen. Autocracy is based on belief of the government. In the new Sri Lankan structure President needs to be autocratic and the Prime Minister needs to be Democratic.

As per the Morning’s report headed ‘Health professionals’ group seeks referendum on Constitutional changes :

[The National Movement of Health Professionals (NMHP) has launched a public petition requesting a referendum to introduce nine fundamental changes to the Constitution.

Speaking to The Morning, NMHP Convener Ravi Kumudesh said that the fundamental changes to the Constitution that are sought, include enshrining United Nations (UN)-based human rights (HR); accepting diversity (racial, gender, religious, disability); having an independent Judiciary, Police, civil administration, and Election Commission (EC); limiting the maximum tenure of all elected positions to four years; social responsibility for pregnant females and mothers, the elderly, children, and the disabled; zero tolerance for bribery and corruption; for the country to be a non-aligned, secular, liberal, democracy; abolishing the Executive Presidency; establishing a common “Sri Lankan” identity; and ensuring equal rights for all citizens.]

Many of these are already in the Fundamental Rights section of the existing Constitution. They are Articles 10 – 17 in the current Constitution.  The rest are largely Political. This includes ‘Buddhism Foremost’ – Article 9 ‘Sinhala Official Language’ Article 18 (1). Fundamental Rights section is about protecting the Sovereignty of the individual and therefore the Nation. It is also the Equal Opportunity Section of the Constitution.

I personally considered Equal Opportunity to be a fundamental right here in Australia, where my Sri Lankan qualifications were not recognized even after high performance was confirmed by me. Hence I took those concerned to Court and even though the Courts dismissed me – I wrote my feelings in my book ‘Naan Australian’. That book travelled via Congress Library to the National Library of Australia.

I do not know whether it is in the ‘Fundamental Rights’ section of the Australian Constitution. But to the extent I believe I am Australian and I believed that the discrimination was  Race based, I exercised my rights. The rest happened naturally. That is the way of Belief.

If therefore every Sri Lankan citizen who believes s/he is Sri Lankan, and believes  to have been discriminated against on any of the bases in the Fundamental Rights section, takes it up through courts that would be a good start. If the Courts dismiss – the Applicant the Applicant must publish the experience at her/his level. The rest will happen automatically.

That is the way Prescription works. In Sri Lanka, this is covered by Prescription Ordinance 1872. According to the Fundamentals of this Ordinance, Belief based occupation / possession is above merit based purchase. Protests that are belief based are the parallels of ‘Possession’ . Such protests need to be undisturbed and uninterrupted, adverse to and independent of the official title-holder .

To therefore be recognised as genuine, the National Movement of Health Professionals need to confirm in Action that they have satisfied all of the above stated ‘Essential Criteria’. They had their Opportunity during Covid when Muslims were forced to cremate instead of burying the bodies of their loved ones. At the moment they seem to be riding the bike in the ‘gap’ in heavy traffic governance.

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