Waiting for Judgement Day | Daily News

Waiting for Judgement Day

There is a clamour from several quarters within the political spectrum and outside for the Supreme Court to deliver its verdict on the dissolution of Parliament without delay. These individuals and groups rightly claim that any delay on the part of the SC to pronounce judgement would place the country in further jeopardy. The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has taken the lead in calling for a speedy judgement from the Supreme Court in order to resolve the stalemate now entering its second month.

Party Spokesman and Senior SLFP member Nimal Siripala de Silva, addressing the media said; “We know the Supreme Court has challenges, but we expect the decision will come soon as it is essential to get the country back to normal.” He also said that President Maithripala Sirisena is on record stating that he would accept whatever verdict handed down by the Supreme Court and would act accordingly.

The President too is keen for an early judgement and was due to communicate his intention to the Attorney General yesterday for this to be apprised to the Court. In addition, an organisation named Yatharthaya (Reality) which is collective of a group of clergy representing all religions too has called upon the Supreme Court not to delay the judgement considering the consequences on the country.

Its General Secretary the Ven.Kiri-Ibbanaare Vijitha Thera said: “The masses of this country, the Maha Sangha, the members of the Christian order, Hindu and Muslim priests and political leaders are waiting in expectation of obtaining a verdict from the Supreme Court about the President’s dissolution of Parliament, within the course of this week (the Court vacations is due to begin on the 14th).”

The President’s concern in this regard is understandable. He had already promised the nation that he would end the crisis within one week. Yesterday marked the end of that period with no solution forthcoming. The country is, in the meantime, drifting aimlessly with the State machinery virtually in a state of paralysis. It was reported in the media that Secretaries of Ministries have stopped releasing money for Ministers which means that work in these ministries has come to a standstill. Things can only get worse with the Supreme Court putting off hearing the Writ case calling into question the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister and the Cabinet, until January 7. Adding to the confusion, the Speaker had summoned the Secretary to the Prime Minister and others over their alleged failure to comply with the Parliament motion suspending all expenditure to ministries. In any case there will be no funds to run the State after January 01, in the absence of a budget and even a Vote on Account is contingent on the Supreme Court ruling in favour of the dissolution.

Perhaps, the President had factored in all these obstacles in wanting a speedy verdict from the Supreme Court, for the country cannot remain in a state of limbo indefinitely. The Political temperature is bound to rise in the coming days creating further chaos. The UNP is planning a mass rally at Galle Face on the 17th while the SLFP/UPFA/SLPP combine too is talking about counter events.

The unrest is bound to dovetail into Christmas signalling a somewhat bleak yuletide for Christians. His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith when questioned about such a possibility said he too was awaiting the Court verdict before deciding on the next move. Perhaps, the Most Ven. Mahanayake Theras, the Heads of Anglican Church and leaders of other faiths should combine to work a way out of the impasse. This was very much in evidence during the tsunami tragedy that hit the country exactly 14 years ago where not only members of the clergy of all religions but also politicians belonging to all parties rallied together at a time of grave peril in a rare show of unity.

What is on display at present is as grave, if not worse, than the giant Boxing-Day tidal wave that would require the efforts of all parties to subdue. It is hoped that the warring parties, even at this late hour, will put behind them their bitter feuding and reach a consensus on resolving the current imbroglio. In both camps there are mature politicians with long experience in the field who could come forward rising above petty differences to resolve what is certainly the gravest crisis to hit the country since independence. After all, they owe the people that much.

Both sides should stop their grandstanding and think about the harm caused to the country. Vituperative language that has been the stock in trade of Lankan politics since independence should be toned down. The political debate should be centred on finding a way out of the present impasse. Already the economy is taking a severe beating, with the massive flight of foreign capital and the runaway depreciation of the Rupee against the US Dollar. With no Finance Minister following the Interim Order restraining the functioning of ministers, things could only go from bad to worse. This is another reason why a speedy solution matters.


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