Reassert people’s sovereignty - Ranil

8 February 2011 12:30 pm - 25     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament charged that the recent judicial observations seek to reintroduce the sovereignty of the British Monarch for the sake of keeping former Army commander Sarath Fonseka in jail under the Army Act introduced in colonial times and requested the Speaker to make a statement to reassert the sovereignty of the people.

Making a statement during the debate on the extension of the state of emergency, Mr. Wickremesinghe said that in this context even the concept of the sovereignty of the people is under challenge.

  “We have to hold the government accountable.  Recent judicial observations seek to reintroduce the sovereignty of the British Monarch.  Therefore I am raising an issue of privilege on the need for Parliament to re-assert the sovereignty of the people,” he said.

“We have now come to a crisis situation where Parliament recognizes the sovereignty drawn from the people while the Courts have now started to recognize the prerogative powers of the Monarch.

“This results in an absurdity in that when we do so we render our Constitution invalid since the Constituent Assembly was an act of the legislature and it is Parliament that has the power to decide on the fundamental decisions of the country under Article 4. 

Parliament must therefore safeguard the sovereignty of the people and repudiate the recognition directly or indirectly given to the prerogative powers of the Monarch and declare any such decision invalid. 

“These can be done by you the Speaker by making a statement with the consent of all leaders of Parties.  We have done this earlier in 1972 when the Speaker ruled that the National State Assembly had the right to proceed with the Bill appearing in the Order Paper of the day notwithstanding the fact that the Constitutional Courts had failed to deliver its judgment as required by Article 54 of the then (’72) Constitution and again on 20 June 2001 Speaker Anura Bandaranaike asserted the supremacy of Parliament over all other institutions.  This is why I raised the  point  of Order.  

“The judicial observations have also sought to resurrect the reasoning of Chief Justice Wood Renton in Edmond Hewawitharana’s case in 1915 where the latter sought writ of prohibition to be directed to the members of a Field General Court Martial.  Edmond Hewawitharana was the brother of Anagarika Dharmapala who was also a member of the Defence Force.  Together with his brothers he was detained when Martial law was declared in 1915. 

The British had Hewawitharana brought before Court Martial.  Hewawitharana applied for a writ on the basis that he was not mobilized at the time of his arrest and therefore did not have to face the Court Martial.  The Supreme Court dismissed  the application by holding that the British Army Act of 1881 was valid and applicable.  This was the same law that was used to execute Henry Pedris.  Have we come to such a time which imprisoned and killed our patriots and even prepared to reintroduce the sovereignty of the British monarch for this purpose?  Isn’t this what has happened in the case of Fonseka vs. Kithulegoda et al.     Are we sacrificing all our principles and sovereignty to keep Sarath Fonseka in jail?”. (Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera)


  Comments - 25

  • Wara Tuesday, 08 February 2011 02:07 PM

    Yes we need a change that we can trust, to stop this rot!

    nagu Tuesday, 08 February 2011 02:29 PM

    First he should write a good Constitution for his own party.....

    M Fayad Bakir Tuesday, 08 February 2011 03:14 PM

    Please retire sir for god's sake

    FRANNY Tuesday, 08 February 2011 04:14 PM


    sam Wednesday, 09 February 2011 07:04 AM

    Ryan, this article may be blabber to those who cannot understand English. Why don't you ask someone educated to explain it to you.

    steve Tuesday, 08 February 2011 06:11 PM

    Problem here is no one takes him seriously any more !

    keith de jkretzer Wednesday, 09 February 2011 08:02 AM

    ranil is a great leader...we need him to stay on...he is faaar ahead of sajith

    manmohan Tuesday, 08 February 2011 12:44 PM

    Really you are the man ! you can lead us to no 1 in the world ....
    such a great brain after JR
    God Bless you the genius !

    wara Tuesday, 08 February 2011 12:49 PM

    Yes Sir. You are right. But who will understand this logic ?

    Appu Tuesday, 08 February 2011 12:57 PM

    Brilliant. But .........

    Commonsense Tuesday, 08 February 2011 12:58 PM

    First Reassert UNP sovereignty..

    Common Man Tuesday, 08 February 2011 01:00 PM

    We need to change all the colonial laws to suit modern time, there are poor people in villages without ownership of their lands due to outdated Crown land Laws.

    tharanga Tuesday, 08 February 2011 12:57 PM

    very few of our "patriots" will understand the logic here... to them, its simply "deshadrohee balawega" at work... I weep for Mother Lanka!

    jt Tuesday, 08 February 2011 12:58 PM

    hahaha! what a point by Ranil! at least the man knows the Constitution properly, unlike this current regime...

    udaya Wednesday, 09 February 2011 02:32 AM

    Perhaps it is this type of reasoning and logic that made him enter in to the infamous Cease Fire Agreement with the LTTE.
    Wonder if he thought of sovereignty of the people or the dignity of Sarath Fonseka or any other soldier for that matter.
    Does he really believe as a lawyer himself that the command structure in an Army can be maintained only with common law?

    Ryan Wednesday, 09 February 2011 02:58 AM

    Complete blabber, he can not speak Sinhala even

    dutugamunu Tuesday, 08 February 2011 01:30 PM

    lead us to hell

    CEEDEEBEE Wednesday, 09 February 2011 03:23 AM

    Sri Lanka has had 63 years of Independence and the opportunity to change laws, way of life etc, yet whenever there seems to be a problem people still blame Britian. Pathetic really when one thinks about, and now we also have some 'jumped up' Politician trying to tell the British PM how to run his country. YEEEESSSSSS.

    Anushka Tuesday, 08 February 2011 01:33 PM

    Too bad he doesn't know or follow the constitution of his own party

    Wara Wednesday, 09 February 2011 03:24 AM

    Yes it was just about to give in your period with Regain Sri Lanka !!

    RAMBO Wednesday, 09 February 2011 03:25 AM

    Well Sir next time you make a public appeareance stripdown your suit and get in to a traditional attire. Make a change in you and your party first.

    Wara Wednesday, 09 February 2011 03:26 AM

    Talking while in the opposition is very easy. But when come to power they all forget those things. What had he done in his period of 2001-2004 ? Any job, Salary increament, ?? Only privatisation and suggest to retire most of experienced gov. workers.

    Mediwake Tuesday, 08 February 2011 01:44 PM

    very few will understand this points. We need this caliber of political leaders to lead our country.

    Gayan Samarasekara Wednesday, 09 February 2011 03:46 AM

    Can you even dream such an educated statement made in the parliament by Sajith P?

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