LACK OF DIRECT DEMOCRATIC CHECKS & BALANCES IN THE CONSTITUTION THE CAUSE FOR CORRUPTION & BRIBERY IN  OUR PARLIAMENTARY POLITICS
Posted on March 30th, 2015

S.C.Chandrasiri

The present efforts directed at amending the Constitution by clipping off the wings of the Executive Presidency are entirely without merit; for constitution-making is not all about law since it has its links with political science as well.

It is completely absurd to think that the Executive Presidency has given rise to the constitutional excesses eroding democratic values. It is fundamentally wrong to portray the effect as a cause and vice versa. We need remedies to cure the cause but not the effect. As we understand things lack of direct democratic CHECKS & BALANCES in the constitution is the cause for corruptions and bribery in our Parliamentary politics. The remedies suggested under the 19th amendment are superficially good but it cannot be reconciled with the democratic theory of Peoples Sovereignty recognized in the Constitution. These amendments can be summed up thus.

This include the reducing of the duration of the office of the Executive President and Parliament from the present 6 years to 5 years with Cabinet being limited to 30 members; a new procedure for dissolution of Parliament curtailing President’s discretion; limiting the President’s office term not to exceed two terms ; and appointment of some Commissions to ensure a clean Public administration, Police Commission, Public Service Commission etc.

As we understand things the precise objective of these amendments is nothing, but to consolidate the theory and practice of Parliamentary democracy ascribing the citizen the passive role of outside observer. This is an attempt to attach divinity to Parliament. Constitution is considered a document untouchable to the people. Elected representatives are deemed to be divine beings free of any corruption.

Although these NGO’s are highly lamenting over the fact that the Executive wields more power, they have no such lamentation for the special powers and privileges enjoyed by the country’s elected representatives in the legislature

As an example we can cite the parliamentary immunity: he cannot be prosecuted for his speeches or votes; again he cannot be arrested or brought to court without the permission of the speaker.

What about their privileges! Duty free vehicle permits, subsidised meals, enhanced pay packets & pensions and the like things, which they enjoy at the expense of the poor taxpayer. Then where does the defect lie? Is it in the Executive Presidency or Legislature?

It lies in the powers assigned to the elected representatives to act arbitrarily in disregard of the will of the people. It is here that a remedy like RECALL & REFEREUNDUM is needed to put an end to these constitutional ills .Constitutional devices like these must be embodied into the constitution enabling the citizen to expel them from their posts.

The present amendments proposed are not the remedies for the present corruptions prevailing in our politics. Proposal for the abolishing of Executive Presidency is somewhat similar to wearing a loin cloth as a cure for diarrhoea.

We don’t expect people to participate just once every five years at election. We want to see a role for civil society in this country.We are committed to a transformation for a participatory democracy

The men who are vociferous about wiping out the right and privileges of politicians under this executive system of government are silent about the Section 68 of the constitution which permits elected representatives themselves to get their salaries increased according to their own whims & fancies without consulting their electorate.

Section 68

  • Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Members, including the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and the Deputy Chairman of Committees, shall be paid such remuneration or allowance as may be provided by Parliament, by law or by resolution, and the receipt thereof shall not disqualify the recipient from sitting or voting in Parliament.

Under the present constitution the powers of the executive presidency depends always on the numerical strengths of his parliamentary majority. In the absence of the 2/3 majority in the parliament the executive presidency is powerless.

 

6 Responses to “LACK OF DIRECT DEMOCRATIC CHECKS & BALANCES IN THE CONSTITUTION THE CAUSE FOR CORRUPTION & BRIBERY IN  OUR PARLIAMENTARY POLITICS”

  1. Christie Says:

    Namaste: What ever the constitution changes are done, the fact that we are a dominion and a colony of the Indian Empire. Until we all Sinhalese realize this fact and rise up against this nonviolent Empire the Sinhalese are doomed. We have had a few periods that we had some release from this nasty Imperialists mainly 1948-56 and 2005-2015. Jai Hind

  2. Indrajith Says:

    ‘Frog-manders’

    News about the discovery of two strange creatures has gone viral on the Internet recently. One of them has caused Charles Darwin to do backflips in his grave, so to speak. It is a giant salamander found in China. It is said to have defied evolution and been around since Jurassic period. Who says a species must evolve to survive?

    The so-called living fossil in China is reportedly under threat due to the pollution of rivers and other waterways where it has been living. If left alone without being driven to extinction through water contamination etc, the salamander is sure to outlive most other species including the arrogant bipeds who think no end of themselves.

    The other creature is a formless chameleon-like frog discovered in Ecuador. It is said to be able to change its skin colour fast. Among the other feats it is capable of is shifting its shape by concealing its spine, we are told. These creatures, however, are not without relatives elsewhere.

    We have a strange critter which is a cross between the evolution-defying salamander and the shape-shifting frog; it is capable of concealing its spine and changing its colour at will. Its head also has the same shape as a toilet seat just like the recently discovered salamander, but its mouth can never be shut.

    Unlike the Chinese salamanders and Ecuadorian frogs, Sri Lankan ‘frog-manders’ are not endangered. Instead, they are a danger to all other species. Scattered throughout the country, some of them congregate regularly by the Diyawanna Lake, croak incessantly, wallow in mud and disperse. Their remarkable ability to conceal their spines help grovel as 26 of them amply demonstrated the other day. They change their colours so fast that one does not know whether they are blue or green or red or yellow.

  3. Indrajith Says:

    Wimal accuses govt. of hounding those who defeated terrorism

    … condemns smear campaign against former SLFP chief
    March 30, 2015, 9:49 pm

    By Shamindra Ferdinando

    National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa, MP yesterday alleged that the government was going after those who had played a pivotal role in Sri Lanka’s triumph over terrorism.

    Weerawansa charged that war-time SLAF Chief Air Marshal Roshan Goonetileke had been dragged into an on-going investigation into the acquisition of four MiG 27s aircraft from Russia.

    Addressing the media at Abayaramaya, Narahenpita, the NFF leader claimed that the government was also planning to vilify war-time navy Chief Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda. Commenting on investigations targeting the then Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Weerawansa said that the war veteran was being hounded whereas those who had undermined the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country were freed.

    Recollecting the countrywide celebrations in the immediate aftermath of the LTTE defeat in May 2009, the former Minister said the people couldn’t turn a blind eye to what was going on. The country couldn’t afford to allow an ungrateful government to harass those who had served the country at the risk of their lives.

    The NFF leader speculated that perhaps a section of the international community as well as the Tamil Diaspora wanted President Maithripala Sirisena-PM Wickremesinghe administration to punish those responsible for the LTTE’s defeat.

    Weerawansa alleged that the new government had only managed to cause uncertainty after having promised to create a new political culture within 100 days. Today, people had realised that the government was on a witch hunt, MP Weerawansa said, urging the people to rise up against the government.

  4. Indrajith Says:

    Please note that the above article “frog-manders” was copied from today’s The Island editorial.

  5. Nimal Says:

    Give the Colonial types to come to SL and deal with this.Peter Clarke tried to clean up Sri Lankan and the President sacked him.
    Last week my son tried to buy two air tickets on Sri Lankan on line for his new parents in Law from Singapore to Colombo using his debit card in London but rejected the transaction saying that the cardholder is not travelling in the same flight but the same official agency based in Singapore tried to illegally withdraw money out of his card 3 times, thanks to safety mechanisms laid by his bank where he was instantly alerted by a text.
    Why is our country having the national airline’s on line booking inquiries directed to an agency in Singapore, is Colombo not good enough?
    There is a pending inquiry on our insistence.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    Democratic form of governance started in Greece in 5 BC. Since that time, Democratic forms of governance have been moulded and folded, striving for a ‘more perfect union’ of the population within each country.

    In present day Democratic politics, it appears essential that people be computer literate to be well informed and participate in the Democratic process. They can then read, discuss and form opinions on the ongoing problems and processes and offer solutions.

    Is Lanka computer literate ? Are our MPs computer literate ? Isn’t it essential to have well educated people as MPs if the Parliament is going to be all powerful ?
    MR was going in the direction of computer literacy for all in Lanka. What is the new illegal govt doing to achieve that ?

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