We are amidst three nationally and politically very important and serious legal tussles, with the entire country waiting with baited breath, for the final outcome of them. And all three cases are a kind of first in the history and hence nobody’s experience at least hints as to what the final outcome of the current political stalemate and the Constitutional conundrum is.
We are witnessing a court case filed by 13 petitioners being heard against the dissolution of the Parliament by President Maithripala Sirisena, while another case had been filed by the ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and 121 Parliamentarians belonging to the UNP, TNA, JVP and the SLMC against Mahinda Rajapaksa and 49 others seeking a declaration from the court preventing the respondents from acting as the Prime Minister and Ministers.
A third petition has also been filed by former Civil Defence Force head Sarath Weerasekara seeking a declaration preventing the Parliament from meeting in the light of the Stay Order against the dissolution of the Parliament. The three cases have made the situation utterly perplexed even to the learned people in the country, while the difference between the arguments of the legal eagles in the country and those of the ordinary men on the street, on the situation, increasingly thinning.
However, in the coming days we can expect one of four scenarios depending on the final judgments of two of these important cases. One is a situation where dissolution of the Parliament might have been upheld while the legality of the Rajapaksa Government might have also been endorsed by the court. Another situation that might arise is where dissolution is upheld but the legality of the Rajapaksa Government is not.
Thirdly, the Supreme Court might declare the Gazette notification on the dissolution null and void, while the Rajapaksa regime could be declared legal. Also there is a possibility of both dissolution and the legality of the Rajapaksa Government might be declared invalid. If the second scenario occurred, a smooth transferring of power from one Government to another through an immediate Parliamentary Election would be possible.
However, depending on some other situations the country might face strange scenarios in the coming days. For instance, if the fourth situation becomes a reality – where both dissolution and the legality of the Rajapaksa Government being legally not acceptable – there would be a situation without a Parliament as well as a Government with a legally accepted Prime Minister and a Cabinet. And there is no provision in the Constitution or any other law for the President to appoint a Prime Minister under that circumstance. Then, the country would have to go for a General Election without a caretaker Government.
We have a populace that is blindly politicized and easily being carried away by the media hypes. We have seen them in the past being emotionally charged by the media hypes, especially with regard to the ethnic issues, ultimately leading to disasters, such as the Aluthgama mayhem. Also we have a media culture which is dishearteningly divided on political party lines. During the current muddle we witness some media outlets irresponsibly echoing the communal references made by the politicians, who have nothing to cling on to.
At a time when the people are emotionally charged such references might end up in untoward turns of events. We expect the politicians to be responsible and maintain restraint in their words and deeds, in this regard. Needless to say that the solution to the current impasse lies in a Parliament which must be new but considerably tilted towards one of the many political groupings. In other words, the solution lies in a parliament with a stable government and a strong Opposition. Yet, in the light of certain politicians always attempting to take mileage of racism, the involvement of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in the making or breaking of governments might lead to unfair communal interpretations while unfortunately driving the Tamil coalition away from the mainstream politics.
In the days to come, there might also be scenarios where the heroes of certain groups would inevitably be humiliated by the rulings of the courts or by the real ground situations. It is the duty and responsibility of the leaders to morally strengthen and prepare their rank and file, in order to put up with the reality, without taking the law into their hands.