The Sunday Leader

Failure To Prosecute Criminals May Boomerang

The country is going to the dogs’ is a generational cry. Present day generations are much convinced that their generation has lapsed greatly in their performance in comparison to those of their forefathers.

At every significant election in recent decades, the cry has been: ‘Throw the rascals out’. But after some time when a new set of politicians has been elected to office, the cry is throw the new rascals out and bring back the old rascals. The result is that a pool of rascals has been built over the decades and the sleepwalking public keeps appointing rascals of any colouration from this pool.

Politicians being rogues of a high order and having the capability toclimb to the top rungs is universally accepted. But the constant refrain of politicians being rogues is the result of the refusal of the electorate to reject the rogues finally and forever.

But are not the electors – the sovereign people – responsible for the creation of this unstoppable cesspit, is not asked in most democracies. The people are supremely sovereign and you can’t blame them for electing rogues!

This takes us to Donald Trump and his ‘Fake News’, Brexit, etc. but let’s get back to mother Lanka.

Sri Lanka is a devoutly religious country of multiple religions none of which promote roguery, thievery, murder, rape, sexual harassment. etc. So, how come these crimes, vices, etc. flourish here? It is however a fact that other deeply devout countries with the same religions are not exceptions. We leave it to religious leaders, philosophers and sociologists to take on the subject.

But should rogue politicians be permitted to proliferate and flourish with impunity in Sri Lanka? How was it that a few decades ago – say in the seventies and sixties – there were still politicians who were considered honourable and lived according to their means? No doubt conditions were different. A poor country with a weak socialist – and feudal economy – limited income produced politicians of a different kind. The Open Economy provided opportunities even for the underprivileged class to acquire tastes of the once opulent and flaunt gaudily their newly acquired and often ill-gotten wealth.

This is a universal phenomenon where free enterprise and open economies alongside criminal practices such as the illicit drugs trade flourish acquiring unimaginable wealth even by the poorest of the poor in Third World countries.

The answer to upsurge of political criminals and the illegally newrich is the rigorous enforcement of law and order. President Rodrigo Duertete of the Philippines is the extreme example of stamping out crime and terrorism in contrast to the Yahapalanaya strategy of Maithri (loving kindness) of Maithripala Sirisena.

Obviously Duertete strategy of tackling crime will not be possible here nor will meditation or Yoga exercises work. The option available is the vigorous pursuit of the law through the police and courts of law.

Public support for this exercise is absolutely vital. There can be no tolerance of any criminal whatever his status is in society or in a political party. Failure to do so will result in accusations of ‘witch hunting’ if one set of criminals are hounded and other ignored.

The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government has correctly gone for the stalwarts accused of corruption during the rule of the previous government. Its fault has been in dilly-dallying over the prosecution of some of the best known rogues to the public. This hesitancy has even resulted in charges of playing footsie under the table with crooks in question.

Delays caused by archaic legal procedures have to be overcome. ThePresidential Commission appointed to investigate the Central Bank scam is an example of how time taken by our archaic legal procedures can be overcome. It has been estimated that the time taken to see a case through from the time taken for a prosecution to be launched to the time it is concluded in the Supreme Court may take 10 to15 years! By the time taken for the prosecution to close the case, the accused maybe in another world!

Little wonder that politics has been criminalised and criminals have taken to politics.

The Yahapalanaya government has two years more to bring to justice the criminals it accused of diddling state funds for billions of rupees if not dollars. Failure to do so may result in Yahapalanaya finding itself in the dock.

5 Comments for “Failure To Prosecute Criminals May Boomerang”

  1. stardust

    Isn’t it already tooooo late ?

  2. Eng.M.V.R.Perera

    In the case of the Supreme Court why not apply article 126 (5) of our constitution which stipulates that a petition filed in the supreme court shall be completed within 2 months of filling the petition apply this article strictly in the Supreme Court by means of affidavits and counter affidavits and then apply it to lower courts as well as magistrate courts then most of the work will be done in the lawyers offices and we Sri Lankans will not be stating justice delayed is justice denied

  3. A very good article, which I would have liked to pass on to a few friends, but unfortunately you do not provide an emailink to your articles.

  4. Emil van der Poorten

    Until and unless there is a return to governance where ethics, morality and principle prevail none of the tinkering with this or that “system” or article of jurisprudence is going to alleviate the problem.
    Is it too late and do we need to return to the beginning and begin developing the system we had at the inception of independence in 1948?

  5. Sri Lankan

    How can. we expect one set.of. criminals. to. take. action against. another set

    of criminals ? This is simple logic!

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