King Can Do No Wrong

Under English Common Law, the Crown, or its Ministers cannot be sued because of the legal Maxim “The king (now the “Queen”) can do no wrong”. This legality may have been watered down today, but I believe the maxim remains in principle.

I refer to this English Common Law maxim because it seems that our Legal/Judicial/Police systems too seem to have adopted it, mutatis mutandis.

In Sri Lanka today the maxim is being applied in two segments, viz (1) “The President can do no wrong”. This principle has entrenched in our Constitution, thanks to our first President, the late JR. Jayewardena and the UNP, (2) “Ministers, their sons, daughters, relatives, friends, political associates, thugs and henchmen can do no wrong”. Hence, the 2nd principle has been in force throughout almost all governments since Independence, but more so since JR’s, Chandrika B’s and Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidencies. Indeed under this government the maxim that “Ministers, their sons, daughters, relatives, friends, political associates, thugs and henchmen can do no wrong” has virtually become standard practice.

This local maxim comes into force almost automatically as soon as any one or more of the persons coming within the above categories are alleged to have committed an offence or behaved in an unseemly, disgusting, abusive or violent manner. The rule is enforced and carried out appropriately according to one or more of the following procedures, namely:

1. The government resorting to IGPC procedure, that is Inquiry by Govt Party Committee instead of the normal criminal law procedure laid down by law (statute), namely investigation by Police cum Attorney General’s Dept. A `not guilty’ verdict is therefore generally to be expected. This was clearly seen in the case where a notorious and nincompoop “Doctor”(!!) Minister from Kelaniya with a gang of thugs entered the SLR premises by force and assaulted a senior officer there in full view (TV) of the entire country. Whether this procedure is valid only to this particular minister is left to be seen.

2. Transferring the identity of the alleged offender to the victim: This is extraordinary novel procedure and it is carried out by the victim himself. For example, when police inquiries indicate that a minister or his brat or any other related to the minister is the offender/s, the victims come out themselves and state via an affidavit or otherwise that they are the persons who committed the crime. Then the court accepts their statements and releases them – the actual offenders.

The second part of this procedure is that the Police/Attorney General affording a nolle prosequi to the victims for the perjury they have done by repudiating the original identification of the actual offender and of the actual offence and subsequently submitting affidavits of self-victimisation, or that no offence took place.

For example, stating, “He did not assault us, it was a mere pat on our back” and so on! The perjury involved is totally ignored; the Attorney General and Police being flexible in determining what is assault and what is a pat on the back!

3. The minister concerned invoking the De minimis non curate Lee (The Law does not take notice of trifling matters”) Rule: Regardless of the severity of the offence, (e.g allegedly taking pornographic pictures on beaches, assaulting the victim to the extent of hospitalizing him, clubbing Police Officers at night clubs and so on, the offence is claimed as minor, the minister laughing it off as a “Boys will be boys,” playful escapade! The Police will cosmetically make initial inquiries of course, but will not pursue it unto arrest and prosecution, if the concerned boy’s ancestry or `whose who’….well, as we all know, show Ministerial parentage. Though about the same age as the Ministerial brats, non-Ministerial sons are not “boys” if involved in offences, but “men” who must behave like men, and not indulge in `boys will be boys’ playfulness!

4. Offender resorting to the `memory loss’ gimmick: The memory loss is unique and unnatural. It is a self-acquired handicap and it comes on at the will and pleasure of, and when useful to the offender. E.g. if the offender is involved in a shooting-death incident and is a suspect in the murder inquiry.

5. A recently introduced procedure under “the ministers, their -sons, daughters and so on can do no wrong” Maxim is the “somnambulist” provision. Here, the Ministerial brat allegedly involved in an offence or other anti-social misbehaviour (e.g. drunk and disorderly, on land, sea or air) can claim he suffers from a sleepwalking ailment, and tends to mistake the wood for the trees, so to say.

This procedure seems to have beer introduced on an experimental basis, at the parent’s initiative. It has a downside, in that where say sportsmen are concerned, selectors may have to take note of that sickness.

When going in to bat, a batsman could get an attack of somnambulism, and thus sleepwalking to the wicket, mistake the `Keeper for the wickets, uproot the wickets as an obstruction to his taking guard, but then continue sleepwalking to who knows where! Likewise, a footballer may shoot into his own goal, mistaking it for his opponent’s goal! Rugger player may plan a try not on the goal line but the sideline, or by the pavilion, and so on. As medical fitness is essential for selection, selectors now need to take note of parental claims of somnambulism since parents know their children’s ailments.

As stated above, all based on recent history where ministers, ministerial brats or other associates were involved in offences and misbehaviours, one could conclude that the English Common Law Maxim, “The King/Queen can do no wrong,” has been adopted here. Here, the Rule is: “Ministers, their sons, daughters, relatives, friends, political associates, thugs and henchmen can do no wrong.” Amazing! -

PROLANKA

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Useless State Development Investments

Developmental investments should benefit the low income persons by providing them with employments or any other legal avenues for earning revenues.

Therefore, when investments do not derive such benefits from the development projects that they are provided with, they become only the sites for state propagandist carnivals.

For example, the investment made to construct an international cricket stadium at Suriyawewa stands unproductive since its opening and only schoolchildren are now in the stadium on schooldays. It has become an eyesore and its high maintenance costs are in vain.

Besides, an unproductive land in a developing area where lands for agricultural and industrial investment is very much in need should be a paramount issue that has to be addressed very soon for the benefits of villagers.

If the funds on the cricket stadium was spent to construct schools in the Hambantota District or to provide facilities such as indoor badminton courts, table tennis outfits, basket ball courts, swimming pools and general playgrounds with the appointment of qualified trainers for selective schools, within 10 to 15 years Hambantota District schools could have produced competitors and winners at the Asian and Commonwealth Games and perhaps at the Olympics. So far the district schools have not produced a sportspersons to represent the country even though a person born in the district and educated in another may have represented the country.

Furthermore, it should be noted that a few schools in the district would benefit with the construction of a cricket stadium. Yet more parents would have admired the investment in developing the schools’ sport facilities that benefit their children. It would be a huge gain for the governing party as well.

A few years ago, an ultra modem theatre was constructed in Colombo while the City already has BMICH, Lionel Wendt and several other theaters. If the investment was made to construct a theatre in Kandy better known for arts, crafts, drummers, dancers and skilled persons in many other arts, it would have been a huge benefit for those artists and art lovers, and the governing party would have gained more publicity and votes.

For all the investments that cannot produce immediate gains but high maintenance costs, the highly paid political advisors should be held responsible.

Kasi Silva
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Fond Remembrance Baby Nethin de Silva

I want to see your lovely innocent face,
I want to remember the beautiful smile
I want to hold you in my arms
And whisper, “Nethin I love you”
But the Angels in Heavan,
Have stolen you from me
They have taken your tender smile,
And the bright shinning eyes
They say you belong to God’s beautiful garden
And that you are happy there.
And so my little Rose-bud
You have gone there
Good-bye little Prince
I’ll watch for you each night
Smile at me little star
And say you love me still.
You were my favourite grandchild
Malli baba, and you will always be,
Till I meet you in Heaven one day.
With fond love,
Aththammi

Alexi de Silva
Battaramulla

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Let’s All Be Somnambulists

The news of a minister’s son, allegedly trying to open the door of an airplane, thinking mistakenly that it is the door of the lavatory, when the airplane was flying at an altitude of over 35,000ft, is said to be suffering from somnambulism. As the minister concerned is an expert in convincing gullible us that white is black, we will accept the story and the grave matter will pass without taking any meaningful action by authorities who control the bat and the ball.

The incident, however, should be an eye-opener, but authorities should not consider only the somnambulism causes fatal actions. Other inherent traits such as criminal tendencies, mental disorders, and many other diseases cause fatalities.

Therefore, when recruitments are made they must investigate the family background, education, criminal records and so on of their candidates before recruitments are made. Had this been done, at least one minister we know who has openly admitted that he has connections with the underworld could have been disqualified before he was elected to parliament.

Speaking of public servants, was there a somnambulist in the Attorney General’s Department who walked away with an important document concerning a fraud of a politician, which resulted in AG’s withdrawing the case? Were the public servant who tied himself to a tree and the arbiters who accepted the explanation and exonerated the culprit mentally unsound? What of our Buddhist monks, their behaviours and involvement in various crimes as reported in newspapers more often? If their bad family backgrounds and inferior traits were found they would not have been ordained. A Buddhist monk recently claimed that the Gauthama Buddha was born in Sri Lanka. Did he claim so because he was insane? The situation has become worse when Buddhist monks refuse to perform a simple Buddhist rite, saying it is a nuisance and hinders their work.

Politics and politicians, Public Administration including the Judiciary and police, the Clergy, especially the Buddhist monks have failed teeming with corruption, nepotism and so on. Compare the past with the present. The past politicians were honourable. They spent their wealth to serve the country and its people. Doing so, they ended up as paupers. But today, the men who walked in rubber slippers a few years back are now living in palatial houses because of their positions in politics or their links with politicos.

The Public Service in Sri Lanka that was considered the best in South Asia today have deteriorated to such a status that no one has trust in the public services. People from far and wide came to learn Buddhism in the past and they held the Buddhist monks in high esteem. Today the respect the Buddhist monks held in the past has come down to such a level due to their despicable behaviour in public. Can such a country expect peace, harmony and prosperity? Let us all wait for the Mathri Buddha’s arrival as the Buddhists believe and the Jesus’ arrival as the Christians believe.

Let the whole nation be sleepwalkers (kumbakarana) and be in that blissful dreamland until their arrival.

Soma Weerakoon
Retired Teacher, Kandy

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HPT Limited And Collapsed Finance Companies

More than 22 years have now passed since the collapse of the HPT Limited in 1989/90 where people like the late Robert Senanayake were in the Board of Directors.

Nearly 3000 depositors were made destitute overnight due to the failure of the Department of Supervision of Non-Banking Financial Institutions of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, to monitor the activities of the company under the Financial Act No. 78 of 1988 and amended by Act No.23 of 1991.

Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, having a nominee director at the HPT Ltd., knew the real situation prevailing at the time and it should have exercised greater care and protected the interest of the depositors who have invested their pensions and Provident Fund expecting a higher income to match the ever escalating cost of living.

The 3000 depositors who were 55 or 60 years old at that time would have passed the Biblical age three scored and ten (70 years), and presently would be 75 to 80 years old. Sick and feeble, they may not live long with the escalating cost of living and the skyrocketing prices of drugs and vitamins.. I am aware that less than 500 are now living, many have committed suicide.
It seems that Central Bank of Sri Lanka has not taken any action against these bogus directors of Golden Key Finance Companies. It was very foolish for some depositors to ask for liquidation, but to leave to the original directors to clear up the mess.

Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga in 1994 directed her officials to settle the money of the HPT Limited depositors. The HPT Limited Board of Directors consulting the Central Bank decided to repay 50% of the depositors’ liability on June 27, 1996 by selling the Head Office building of the finance company.

The balance liability of about Rs.160 million to be paid to the HPT Limited depositors and not to the Golden Key huge liability of Rs. 26 Billion.

There is a balance of 50% to be paid to 3000 depositors of the HPT Limited. What the liquidators state now is that several lands belonging to the HPT Limited are vested with the Land Reform Commission Act No. l of 1972 and the liquidators are helpless, a few thousands of Rupees that the liquidators are presently getting as installments from HPT Limited properties are being used to maintain the liquidators’ office.

By far the most valuable is the block over two acres of land called Kolonumekumbura along the Nugegoda-Pepiliyana High Level Road, which could fetch well over Rs.200 million in the present market.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, like former president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge, should instruct his officials to settle the claims by releasing these lands to pay compensation to the depositors, but this may be hampered by Government Red Tape.

The collapse of finance companies could have been averted under the Finance Act if only the Central Bank T.T.I (Think Tank Intellectuals) read clause set in Section 10 of the Insurance Corporation of Sri Lanka Act No. of 1961, which requires the finance companies be insured all deposits held by them.

Do we need the Department of Supervision of the non-Banking Financial Institutions who have misled the poor of the country and made thousands of depositors destitute overnight?

Have the Central Bank sought the assistance of the Interpol to arrest these bogus confidence directors of these collapsed finance companies in the last 22 years.

It surprises me as to why Deshamanya Lalith Kotalawela and his wife Celine accumulated such a large sums of money going up to billions of Rupees when they have no children.

The people trusted Lalith as he hails from a respected family in Sri Lanka. His mother the late Alice Kotalawela and brother the late Prime Minister Sir John Kotalawela gave their house and property to the Nation by offering them to the Kotalawela Defence Academy.

How can even they rest in peace in their graves when their descendants act like vultures!

A commission with retired Supreme Court judges and businesspersons be appointed immediately with a time frame and the case should be given much publicity in the print and electronic media. The State must confiscate the wealth of those found guilty.

Justice delayed is Justice denied, more strength to the hands of the President, Mahinda Rajapaksa to mete out justice.

Fred Rodrigo-Sathianathen
Melbourne, Australia

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Vision Of Kelaniya University Alumni Association

The Annual General Meeting of the Kelaniya University Alumni Association will be held on Sunday July 28 under the gracious participation of the Chancellor of the University of Kelaniya, the Most Ven. Prof. Welamitiyawe Kusaladhamma Mahanayake Thero, the Chancellor of the University of Sabaragamuwa, the Most Ven. Prof. Kumburugamuwe Vajira Thero and the Vice Chancellor Prof. Sarath Amunugama.

We have to remember at this moment Sir Ivor Jennings, the first Vice Chancellor of the first university in the country, the University of Peradeniya. He lucidly explained the goal of modern university education as follows:

“The fundamental task is to produce men and women who are capable of fulfilling any function in the world that may fall to their lot, citizens of high intelligence, complete moral integrity and possessing energy, initiative, judgment, tact and qualities of leadership”(Jennings, 1948) His statement provides a yardstick with which the modern university education can be measured.

Vidyalankara Pirivena established on November 1, 1875 at Peliyagoda is a great achievement of the most Ven. Ratmalane Sri Dharmaloka Thero.

It has immensely contributed to the growth of the educational, social, cultural and moral standards of the country. For the invaluable services rendered by this great institution, it has been elevated to the rank of university status on June 17, 1959 by the Government of S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike.

At the inaugural ceremony, the first vice chancellor of newly opened Vidyalankara University, the Most Ven. Kiriwaththuduwe Sri Prgnasara Thero delivering his speech made the following statement:

“All the citizens of this country who intend to complete their education from this university should protect the image of this great historical institution and should make every effort to safeguard the honour of their parents, their own self-respect and dedicate themselves to serve the motherland and its people while upholding their dignity and humility.

The then prime minister, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike said at the inauguration ceremony, “Today we have laid the foundation to build a sovereign state and this university is entrusted with the task of creating citizens upholding treasured moral values and capable of contributing to the social, economic and cultural welfare of the country.

The University of Kelaniya has a proud history of over 13 years. Vidyalankara Pirivena was granted the legal status of a University by the Government in order to establish a national educational institute, which would form the backbone of the higher educational system of Sri Lanka.

The vision of the Alumni Association of the University of Kelaniya focuses on the above principles. The Alumni Association was commenced on October 4, 1986 by the then Vice Chancellor Prof. Indraratne Balasooriya with 92 university graduates. During the past 53 years the university has been successful in producing over 75,000 graduates who have rendered great service locally and internationally. The first president of the Alumni Association was the Most Ven. Prof. Kumburugamuwe Vajira Thero.

His dedication and commitment enabled him to achieve objectives of the university with the first Secretary of the Association Prof. Managala Illangasinghe. I believe it is our sacred responsibility as the past students of this great historical and prestigious institute to serve our motherland and humanity in general while upholding the values and the knowledge imparted to us.

It is also our prime duty to protect and enhance the image of this great corridor of knowledge, while contributing to its continuous improvement. The Alumni Association also provides ideal platform to renew our old friendships and interaction among our colleagues.

We greatly acknowledge and appreciate the blessings and the guidance extended by the present Chancellor of the University of Kelaniya, the Most Ven. Valamitiyawe Kusaladhamma Thero, Chancellor of University of Sabaragamuwa and the first President of the Association, the Most Ven. Prof. Kumburugamuwe Vajira Thero, the present Vice Chancellor Prof. Sarath Amunugama and the former Vice Chancellor Prof. M.J.S. Wijeyaratne.

The present president – now in poor health, Theobold Muthugalage has also rendered a yeomen service for the growth of the Association. Due to their determination and commitment-the Alumni Association is heading towards a better tomorrow achieving its mission

Joe Perera
Executive Committee Member
Alumni Association, University of Kelaniya

 

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