Thursday 15 November 2018

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

15 November 2018

President is the Umpire – not the lead player

The power of the Parliament is based on the Belief of the People. Belief is right whatever its form. Hence the ‘form’ of majority is allowed to lead – just as who bats first. ABC report states as follows about yesterday’s motion in Sri Lankan Parliament, in relation to the President’s 26 October appointment of Mr Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister:

"The (no-confidence) motion was taken to vote by voices on the floor and it had a majority support. Now we are going to sign the papers," said R Sambanthan, leader of an opposition group bitterly opposed to Mr Rajapaska.

This then automatically clears the ‘appointment’ to make which the President did not have the mandate. An elected President needs the confidence of the Parliament to appoint only when the position is vacant.

That is like the cricket game ‘toss’ that decides who bats or bowls first.  The elected President, as the umpire merely confirms the verdict of the People – that the majority side bats first.  It does not declare a win or a loss. Wins and losses are determined by playing the game – and the umpire has to wait until a mistake / wrong is done to bring the players into right order. When the umpire rules – not only must s/he use the common rules of the game but also needs to be seen by all  - including the audience – that the rules had been the measure.

 Soon after elections when the confidence of the People is reflected through the side that earned majority – the President umpires. From then on within Parliament – the speaker becomes the umpire.
Yesterday, the Hon  Karu Jayasuriya performed amazingly under extremely difficult conditions and upheld the honor of the Parliament.

The Supreme Court is like the Cricket Board which ensures that its members follow the International rules of Cricket. The Court has the direct power to mark members right or wrong using the rules that are already in place. The way the Cricket Board cannot directly umpire – the Supreme Court also cannot directly rule. All those who access its services through due processes are its members.
The Supreme Court – by temporarily setting aside the decision made by the President to dissolve parliament, cleared the People’s belief to be upheld by elected members. The no confidence motion yesterday also effectively cleaned the parliament of the unlawful appointment of Mr Rajapaksa – to make which Mr Sirisena did not have the belief  of the people nor the  logical authority  of the law.
According to today’s Daily Mirror report headed ‘President rejects NCM brought against PM, Govt.:

[In a letter to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday rejected the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) brought against his nominee for Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Government.
In his letter, the President said proper procedures were not followed as was required by the Constitution and with regard to Standing Orders when submitting the No-Confidence Motion against the Prime Minister to Parliament.
President Sirisena said the NCM was thus passed without adhering proper parliamentary procedures.
‘The President shall appoint as Prime Minister the Member of Parliament, who, in the President’s opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament”, the letter read. The opinion of the President cannot be questioned or tested. He is expected to evaluate the prevailing situation and decide on the person best suited for the country.]

The advice of the Speaker to the President – is not mandatory but one that shows good culture. By walking away and out of the Parliament, Mr Rajapaksa failed to demonstrate that he was of the Belief that he was the rightful Prime Minister as per his own investment in Parliament.  During the 2009 battle against Tamil Militants also – he left the country. In both instances he confirmed that there was conflict between his belief and his calculated decisions through which he ‘showed’ authority that he did not believe in. To that extent he is a good man.

According to Tamil Newspaper Uthayan, President Sirisena has confirmed his belief that since he is not able to work with Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe – he was entitled to declare another from within the UNP as Prime Minister. If true – then that is like the umpire refusing to allow a particular batsman to lead the batting team. That then means that the independence of the batting team has not been respected in terms of who bats next. The internal workings of the UNP are its own business and Mr Sirisena failed to demonstrate respect for the structures and protocols that UNP develops within its own institutional boundaries. This confirms ‘takeover’ mentality of his party in Opposition.
As per my service experience, interactions free of structures invite infections from one to the other. Position boundaries and respect for those boundaries help us prevent such infections. Truth comes with its own structures and therefore is safe. If Mr Sirisena is acting as per his Truth – he is stepping down from the position of elected President of the Nation. If UNP changes the leadership – it would also insult the People’s mandate.

As a People’s representative  Mr Wickremesighe brought credit to Sri Lankans confirming to ourselves that we are capable of Peaceful Assembly to express our belief. Public Reactions whether they are in agreement or disagreement dilute the value of Belief. They come without the protective structures of Truth / Belief. As a strong investor in law – Mr Wicremesinghe demonstrated good order and accepted his party’s decision to test the decision in Court. If the Court decides in December that the decision was not unlawful – then he has the duty to accept that the Parliament has been dissolved. This is not because he as an individual interprets the law but because he respects the Institutional values of the Judiciary as an Independent and Government  parallel and Equal to the parliament – just as Hindus are to Buddhists.

For my part I kept invoking the powers of Kathirgama Murugan. I was very hurt when a Buddhist shrine was built on the hilltop – blocking the Hindu shrine. All three leaders involved in this political tangle are seen to seek the blessings of Lord Muruga of Kathirgamam before elections.  They obviously pray to win. But neither repealed Buddhism foremost Article from the Constitution. As per that Article – Muruga is second to Buddha – as Kiri Vihara Buddhist Shrine is first to these leaders in that area. But to be Muruga is the foremost Deity at Kathirgamam. When I pray to Lord Muruga – my powers  would go to the person who is more for Hindus than for Buddhists. This I know is Mr Wickremesighe  above the other two – due to my investment in English law which to the other two is foreign law. That is how the citizen empowers through belief based mental participation .

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