Dappula de Livera Called Upon to explain: (Part 3)
Posted on June 26th, 2021

by The Sri Lanka Study Circle

Petitioner G L Peiris’ Intervention in Court Acknowledging that the Port City Bill was Unconstitutional while Peiris Continued to Assure the Cabinet, the Parliament and the People that it was Constitutional

/Contd from Part 2

Were you, Mr. de Livera, a willing accessory to Prof Peiris’ chicanery?

Prof G L Peiris’ conduct was bizarre, to say the least. And, Mr. de Livera, so was yours.

Prof Peiris was in total agreement with your opinion that the ‘Port City Bill’ was Constitutional when he, along with others, voted in favour of the Bill at the critical Cabinet meeting and continued to hold that view on 08 Apr 21 when the Bill was tabled in Parliament and, even thereafter till about 19 Apr 21, the day the Court sat to deliberate on the petitions submitted.

G L Peiris’ volte-face in Court

On 19Apr 21 or thereabouts, Prof Peiris indicated that he entertained seemingly serious doubts about your opinion on the Bill; he did a volte-face when he conveyed to the Court, as an intervenient petitioner, that he did not agree with the Attorney General’s opinion on the Bill and considered amendments to the Bill vital, to protect the Constitution from being violated. 

Did Prof Peiris communicate with you his reservations, about your opinion on the Bill?

Prof Peiris came to Court, armed with copies of the Bill and the Constitution and a battery of private lawyers in tow; it was revealed during the Court proceedings that the Bill had seriously violated the Constitution in over 25 instances!!

Did Prof Peiris keep the President informed?

What was it that seemingly prompted Prof Peiris to reverse-course his thinking? When did that mental metamorphosis take place?

Or, was this ‘change of mind’ a part of an overall strategy and were you, Mr. de Livera, a cog in that strategy?

An important question begs an answer. Did Prof Peiris – the Chairman of the SLPP – keep the Head of the Cabinet (the President) informed about his ‘change of mind’ and about his proposed course of action?

If the President had concurred with Prof Peiris should not the Bill have been withdrawn?

If the Professor had indeed informed the President, and the President had concurred with the Professor’s new point of view, should not the procedure, that should have been followed, be vastly different from the one that was pursued?

Should not the Speaker have been informed, the Bill withdrawn and the matter of ‘withdrawal’ communicated to Court?

Ramifications of withdrawing the Bill

If the Bill had been withdrawn, would it be incorrect to say that there would have been no Court hearing and the Government would have been compelled to re- table an amended Bill in Parliament, incorporating all the amendments and changes as suggested by the Professor?   

In those circumstances, would not the people have been afforded an opportunity to challenge the ‘amended’ Bill in Courts, if the need arose?

Professor Peiris deals a telling blow to Democracy?

In the light of Prof Peiris coming in as an intervenient petitioner, many ask the question, Was Prof Peiris subverting the democratic concept of ‘Separation of Powers’ and paving a path for the Judiciary to encroach on the turf of the Legislature?”

Was the Professor attempting to mute the voice of the Legislature and were you not, Mr. de Livera, an important link in that strategy?

‘Separation of Powers’ is a universally accepted democratic norm wherein the three arms of Government -the Legislature, the Judiciary and the Executive – have been Constitutionally delegated the power of the people, to perform on their behalf, clearly defined tasks.

The three arms of Government are independent of each other and are coequal.

Under normal convention, it is the preserve of the Legislature to make and amend laws while the preserve of the Judiciary is to interpret laws.

In a landmark case, John Jay, America’s first Chief Justice clearly clarified the role of the Court when he said, The Court does not give advisory opinions; rather, its function is limited only to deciding specific cases”.

‘Separation of Powers’ is an inbuilt safety mechanism for the protection of the people against misuse and abuse of their power by any one of the three arms of Government.

Had the Government taken the course of action, which as constructed in this letter, it rightfully should have, would not much of the debate and argument on the Bill been rightly confined to the Legislature?

But, in the Legislature the debate was restricted to just two days.

The Court hearings lasted five days.

Again, would it not have been from the Legislature that amendments would then have originated?

And, would not this process have prevented Parliament being reduced to a virtual cut-and-paste shop?

What happened to Sri Lanka’s Parliament, was indeed unique and sad.

Of course, the exercise of withdrawing a Bill, re-drafting a fresh Bill in its place and re-tabling it in Parliament would not have taken place in a day or two.

As far as the people are concerned, the Port City Bill could have waited that time.

But did those, representing the people have sufficient time?

What was the urgency and whose was the urgency?

Secret pledges made by politicians to foreign parties in undisclosed Treaties?

Global think tanks assert that there has been a recent trend for Governments to make illicit pledges, secretly, to foreign donors; these unauthorised pledges are written into undisclosed Treaties and Agreements.

According to these think-tankers these donors show a pronounced disrelish for these unconstitutional pledges to be made public. 

The Politicians, to fulfil their criminal pledges to foreign donors and to maintain credibility with them, attempt to unobtrusively push these pledges – hidden away in nooks and crannies of Bills –   through Acts of Parliament.

Were any pledges, contravening the Constitution and made by the Government to foreign parties in yet undisclosed Treaties and Agreements, included in the Port City Bill?

Were their time stipulations laid down in those ‘secret’ and illegal pledges?

In the context of the yet undisclosed contents of these Treaties and Agreements, would it be unreasonable to conclude that this could well explain the stealth, duplicity and urgency of the Government to sneakily attempt passing the original Port City Bill?

Mr. de Livera, were there unconstitutional pledges in any of the yet-to-be-seen Agreements?

 Were any of these pledges ‘hidden’ away in the Bill that was originally tabled in Parliament?

Were any of these unconstitutional pledges found in any of the 25 clauses of the Bill that were determined by the Court to violate the Constitution?

Mr. de Livera, could you please make available to the public, the contents of all the Sri Lankan Treaties and Agreements between India, America and China since 2009?

If the President did not concur should not Prof Peiris have been sacked immediately?

On the other hand, if the Professor had not communicated his ‘new’ opinion and his intended course of action to the President or if the President, on being so informed by the Professor, did not concur, should not Prof Peiris have been stripped of his Cabinet Portfolio, sacked from the Party and booted out of Parliament for his irresponsible conduct?

‘Cabinet-Collective-Responsibility’ is a convention in Parliamentary democracy; members of the cabinet must publicly support all governmental decisions made in Cabinet, even if they do not privately agree with them. If a member of the Cabinet wishes to openly object to a Cabinet decision, then he is obliged to resign from his position in the Cabinet.

Prof Peiris neither resigned nor was he sacked

Prof Peiris should either have resigned or been sacked. In either instance he should not be in the Cabinet. But, in this instance, he continues to remain in the Cabinet.

What does this suggest?

Does this not strongly suggest that the President and Prof Peiris had, in cahoots, engaged in some type of political skullduggery and that you were an integral cog in that plot?

Single-mindedness to surrender Sri Lanka’s Sovereignty and National Security?

When the Court determined, in no uncertain terms, that the Bill touted as Constitutional by the Government was indeed absolutely unconstitutional, when the Court determined that in eight of the twenty-five instances identified as unconstitutional, a referendum was required and when the Government used devious means to have the Bill unobtrusively passed in Parliament with all the dangerous violations to the Constitution in place, does it not suggest that the President and Prof Peiris were willing to sacrifice and imperil Sri Lanka’s Sovereignty, Security and Unity?

This construct is reinforced when on the same day, 19 Apr 21, the President’s Secretary, Mr. P B Jayasundera, also challenged the Bill in Courts, as an intervenient petitioner!

Mr. de Livera, would you admit that you are at the Centre of some duplicitous period of Sri Lanka’s history having issued a spurious opinion that the Bill was constitutional?

to be contd

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