Significantly, the Magna Carter signed in 1217 heralding the British people’s sovereignty overturned the ruthlessness of King John - this then is common knowledge. Yet, its overpowering need is felt even today in many countries where the people’s sovereignty is undermined while at the same time state sovereignty is insisted upon. German national, scholar and philosopher Emmanuel Kant said, "In all men there is a categorical imperative to know what is right and wrong. This bidding of conscience creates the ultimate moral law where all in society can enjoy maximum freedom from subjection to the arbitrary rule of others.’’
The numerous instances of arbitrary rule starting from the flagging of the republican constitution displays the political hypocrisy and opportunism of a kind not witnessed earlier on. It brings to the writer’s mind Professor Tissa Vitharana’s reference to this constitutional misgiving as a disconnection of the umbilical cord when the remaining constitutional link with Britain was severed. The learned Professor’s imagery obviously was fascinating, as the writer reflected on the newborn babe’s fate - now grown up to be a maimed adult in the absence of moral government - a shared, unforgivable crime of all post ‘72 governments.
The meticulously planned out Navarangahala fiasco of champagne socialists distancing themselves from their egalitarian or equality concept that legalised the ‘72 constitutional misdemeanour, the liberal green leadership that squirted volumes off Aristotle, Socrates and Plato on democracy, freedom and human dignity that resorted to an unforgivable Executive Presidency and the highbrow patriots that dismantled the 17th amendment meant for public good and to promote the 18th for the sake of power aggrandisement are guilty of the sacrificial lamb - the people’s sovereignty.
"In that long and notorious list of Constitutional scheming is the referendum, symbolising the lamp and betel leaf seeking the people’s will in the ever-green, to this day highly controversial Executive Presidency"
In that long and notorious list of Constitutional scheming is the referendum, symbolising the lamp and betel leaf seeking the people’s will in the ever-green, to this day highly controversial Executive Presidency - the result itself disputable in the absence of an independent police commission. Noteworthy is the not-so-surprising track record of this country’s legislators’ aversion to whatever that was Constitutional morality. For instance, the Soulbury Constitution’s article 29.2 upholding minority rights was dumped in the highly centralised ‘72 Constitution. Minority safeguards contained therein were essential components that upheld their dígnity. The Soulbury Constitution’s very liberal and democratic features went into oblivion, establishing Constitutional rigidity in the unitary character of the ‘72 masterpiece. Primacy of place to Buddhism and Sinhala displayed scant respect for other ethno/ religious minorities - a far cry if not a distant wail from the socialists’ cherished and sacrosanct prayer of equality. The Senate that was a buffer state for hasty legislation was annulled and the independence of the three arms of government fell by the wayside. The large-scale politicisation that followed in the absence of the police, judicial and public service commissions has seeped into all aspects of society pushing this country into a state of hopelessness. Politicisation has brought in a patron/client relationship and the ‘we/they’ club membership has intensified. Discreetly operative in this connection is a topic- the social view of which borders obscenity - caste.
Reflecting on these misgivings, one begins to wonder whether the legal genius sans moral governance behind such Constitutional maneuvering had in mind to bring into power an entire elite sharing caste and regionał affinity with Dr. Colvin R. de Silva and many in the United Front government of that time to be at the helm in the social, economic and political affairs of this country. The ‘72 Constitution is timely, for it comes in the wake of an enterprising, upwardly mobile Karawe caste that gradually effaced Govigama control of countrywide power starting from D.S. Senanayake. Incidentally Govigama notoriety of its unwillingness into parity of status with the Karawe community is best left unsaid.
Caste-based geographical entities are still around. Their empowerment is no doubt a reality, should the 13th Amendment see the light of day.
It is not only Tamil empowerment in the north that is anaethema to the establishment but also caste empowerment of the diverse regions - a direct threat to the island-wide strong and powerful Karawe community. The phobia exists of a bouncing back of a Govigama stronghold that once was.
States disrespectful of the rule of law, knee deep into politicisation are guilty of a clamp down on people’s sovereignty and are not morally positioned into calling for state sovereignty. When people’s sovereignty is lost in the absence of the rule of law, national sovereignty and territorial integrity are threatened. International secret services are on the prowl. The next move, one never knows.
The sugar-coated bitter pill of inter-state diplomacy cannot be relied upon.
Plato’s expression against this backdrop is worthy of contemplation. The best form of government as rule of law is by the best men. The best men respect established law. If law is the master of government and government is its slave, then the situation is full of promise and people enjoy all the blessings that the gods shower on the state. Nothing new anyway for its longstanding utterance over 2,500 years- 'Raja bhavatu dammiko’