THE GREAT LAND ROBBERY

30 September 2013 05:06 am - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By gomin dayasri

A determined naval rating butted Rajiv Gandhi with his rifle, before the Indian PM thumbed the Indo Sri Lanka Agreement amidst fanfare and gunshot. Some watching the incident on TV vouched J. R. Jayewardene (JR) was fleetingly amused before he did a rapid volte- face for diplomatic niceties– naturally, after being coerced and compelled by the Indians more than cajoled and charmed. Smiled mystifyingly as Mona Lisa? Deservingly, JR can laugh last than smile awhile, after the Supreme Court delivered a historic judgment in the case of Superintendent, Stafford Estate vs. Rasu (SC Appeal 21/2013).

They said Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement shifted Land from the Centre to the Periphery, duly legalized by the 13th Amendment. Silly stupid me – prepared to take a whackin belonging to a disorientated school. Nationalists screamed it was aperfidious act. On the surface it appeared to be so:  UNP Governmentsuccumbed to the same delusion and did not demur. Their officialdom spoke affirmatively of such devolution: JR was rapped alone as the traitorous fall guy.
Wavering Tamil political parties swept under the carpet by the LTTE, objected to it with a grimace and accepted it with a smile. TNA changed gear with the onset of peace to boot the accelerator to rev the thirteenth and make a stake for land.

" The faulty notion persisted due to our national failing of accepting any nonsense without an exhausting exhumation. Serves right for our stupidity–for comprehensively misreading the 13th Amendment on Land. None realized, JR on Land-had laid a dainty dish to set before the House.Supreme Court fluffed it–pardon them, probably, counsel misled the ‘not-so-learned’ among the wigged!xx "
The faulty notion persisted due to our national failing of accepting any nonsense without an exhausting exhumation. Serves right for our stupidity–for comprehensively misreading the 13th Amendment on Land. None realized, JR on Land-had laid a dainty dish to set before the House.Supreme Court fluffed it–pardon them, probably, counsel misled the ‘not-so-learned’ among the wigged!

Did the Old Fox out-fox the Indians with a sleight wrist in delivering a wily doosra? It stumped him too, not being able to read his own spin. Shock! Why did he not understand his mutinous act, as Land, was secured safely in the presidential paws? Did he not know of it…if so, did he do it unknowingly and unintentionally?  Belongs to a school that believes, JR did without knowing or intending: assented to it meekly. Blindly accepted what was asked of him. Bless him, it reads otherwise.
Clever and crafty JR possessed no legal expertise to crack a Da Vinci Code. Or was there more to read in that bewildering bewitching smile of his? Ask me, Sri Lanka is a thrice-blessed sacred land overloaded with gods and a population that abides principally by their varied notions of spirited worship. Probably that benediction brought fortune to a hollowed nation.

In a hasty ill-judged ruling [John Keels case] Chief Justice Sarath Silva misconstrued the interpretation of the term Land in the 13th Amendment and led the Supreme Court to slot it incorrectly in the provincial list.
Don’t forget the illustrious judgment of Sarath Silva [a keen legal mind] on de-merger, made under great pressure. As a counsel in that case the proper timing was of the essence. Not in this case, any time was teatime: Sri Lankans, as usual, has to be taken to the wall for a pasting to lay a flutter to become a winner.

Shirani Bandaranayake CJ, made a determination in the Land Ownership Bill initiated by a few Provincial Chief Ministers of this government presented by some SLFP leaning lawyers enabled the Chief Ministers to take control of the lands in their provinces [President take note, they are all your lads!]. It was the Supreme Court that placed the country in a pickle on the issue of Land.
A more enlightened Bench of Justices Mark Fernando, A.R.B. Amerasinghe  [two truly great legal brains] and S.W.B Wadugodapitiya in the Agrarian Services Bill came within sniffing distance of decoding the latent cryptography in the script of the 13th amendment, but instead skirted around and decided to save it for another day. That sunny day never came and the ignorant despondency persisted.



The prevailing disorder is indefensible since the Constitution is crystal clear if properly analyzed: which was not. Instead a Great Land Robbery was enacted and providentially averted before hour zero. Still, there will be surface-riders with red and green eyes to forward their zany agendas over‘this Land [that] belongs to all of us to live in harmony’. The judgment makes Land inclusively for all the people of this country and not exclusively for the Province in the hold of nine Chief Ministers.
Problems with the 13th Amendment have not vanished. Just one dodgy doorway is closed. Merger went down under before but remains unlocked and retains an ugly complexion in black and white in the constitution. It needs a whitewash.

" Irrespective of the generous compliments paid for a deserving service, shall not toll a bell more for man who denied a general election and extended his 5/6th majority with a faulty referendum for his comfort. Sure, it’s like sending a wreath and then offering a perfumed rose. "
JR -wherever you are, in hell or heaven or in some intermediate zone, it matters less whether you did it un-knowingly or un-intentionally, but offer you a bountiful bouquet from an unrelenting critic for having scripted flawlessly in the constitution the appendix on Land read with the disconcerting Lists that makes, Land remain forever with the Center: as it always did and should.

Irrespective of the generous compliments paid for a deserving service, shall not toll a bell more for man who denied a general election and extended his 5/6th majority with a faulty referendum for his comfort. Sure, it’s like sending a wreath and then offering a perfumed rose.
Being at times crafty, wondered whether JR carried a secret he knew of, to his grave without revealing it - afraid he maybe called a cheat by the gory Indians…. doubt it, because he was a fox that lived in open air in search of glory.

 Who is the enigmatic scriptwriter? Leave it to the next generation – bound to have many usurpers to surface fast to extract credit. Stake a wager, he lives superannuated or dead in the land of Rama. Bless him, India will care less, since it is a lawful pronouncement, otherwise they will have to wear/share the bunglers hat.
 On this judgment UNP can sit pretty and crow over but knowingthere past performance on the field might again spill another dolly catch. Loitering around to pick any dropped ball will be Mahinda Rajapaksa– sure will know to slice the Indians by showing respect for a judicial prouncement. Say no more, Chief!

Let me take you into confidence. It was all there – the bit and pieces of the jigsaw. A simple artisan was needed to pick piece by piece: lay out a design to unfold an unseen picture. The puzzle needed a few basics to set to perfection. The instructions on how-to-do-it were laid outconcisely in a manual called the Constitution. The skills required were in the analysis and interpretation. That sure needed the right thinking and the proper presentation.

Without H.L. de Silva there was no other to run over the cryptic picture as it began to unfold. He is no more and no other in the legal circles- comes into the frame- with a mind worth an asking and the required driving skills to take on a test run on the constitution.



Would never have traversed space thought lost unless One Man inspired me to revisit the chapter on Land. To cut this story short, shall gratefully, unravel that deserving name on another day.Indeed on that persuasion to take a re-look at the 13th made a reluctant return that helped to unearth the covert icons within a scrambled constitutional maze- that amazed me!  

Compose the music and wave the baton- a conductor still needs a symphony to perform and audience to hear. Sri Lanka was indeed fortunate in having a skilled impartial bench of judges who rose to the occasion. Such are sparse.
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  Comments - 2

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  • Dick Perera Tuesday, 01 October 2013 08:54 AM

    The 13th A is an addition to the Constitution . When any section
    or paragraph is challenged in the Courts , is it not incumbent on
    the Hon . Judges to scrutinize every single word of it , whatever
    time it takes, to comprehend its meaning , before a judgement is
    made , on the matter , in question .
    To me it appears , from what Gomin says , that not sufficient
    effort is made by Judges to study the Constitution , in this instance . That is what the learned Gomin has done ; which
    should have been done by the Judge(s ) .

    Neloufer Monday, 30 September 2013 02:15 PM

    And we shall all celebrate! Thanks for the fabulous analysis.


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