A better, not new, constitution! | Daily News

A better, not new, constitution!

Sri Lanka is in dire need of a better constitution. The present constitution, with its 19 amendments, and more lined up, has proved inadequate and even faulty, largely because it has been made by politicians, to serve their interests.

The present parliament has been set up under the present constitution and all Sri Lankans will agree that this parliament is greatly disappointing, disgusting and a disgrace. Worse, it worthlessly swallows up the lion’s share of country’s money pot.

Neither a proper government nor an opposition exists. This gang of 225, with a whale of a time under the cloak of the present constitution, sucks up the people's money to give themselves the fancy perks and privileges.

The people of Sri Lanka including Security Forces and Police have been vociferous: THIS MUST STOP! But then? A new road has opened up to travel with a new constitution.

Eminent personalities

The new constitution shall not be subject to approval of the incumbent parliamentarians. We are all too familiar with their vision and mission: self-importance, aggrandizement, aggregation, self-perpetuation and family or clan progression business.

Then how is a new constitution to be made? Sri Lanka has enough of individuals, outside the parliament, who are honourable, just, fair, knowledgeable, conversant and capable of participating in and contributing to the exercise of drafting a new constitution for Sri Lanka. The citizens must appoint and form an independent committee or commission of not more than 15 eminent personalities. Such a commission shall be assigned with the duty of drafting a new constitution for Sri Lanka.

Parliamentarians are not the godsend. What power they have is what is delegated to them by the people via the constitution – to serve the people and not themselves. The people are the sovereign. The constitution remains the supreme law of the land. The people are the sovereign and the constitution is their instrument through which they pass on the business of the good governance to the representative parliamentarians. This extends to the designated arms Executive, Legislature and Judiciary.

The source of the power is the people and that power is delegated that people may be well served – but is that so? The delegated power has now for a long time been misused and abused to the extreme by the 225 parliamentarians on both sides and often together.

That is why the country and people look forward to and demand a new order, by way of a new constitution. This, however, shall be shouldered by a separate, independent, body of citizens gathered for the task.

Such a draft constitution, after the normal process of calling for the opinions/views of individual/ groups, shall be published in the newspapers. When the final draft arrives, the same could be submitted to the people for referendum purpose.

Introduce amendments

An argument will emerge that the incumbent constitution contains the means to introduce amendments. Those canvassing that argument will miss the point. Our focal point here is to exclude the gang of 225 parliamentarians from this exercise. Any talk of incumbent parliamentarians being 'representatives of the people' is a dead argument and a hoax. They cannot be accepted to make a vital decision such as drafting a new constitution.

We respect the constitution. However, it has been toyed by the 225 parliamentarians. It is now up to us, all the people of Sri Lanka, to ask for, or even demand, the appointment of such an independent committee/commission to draft a new constitution which finally will be accepted by the people at a referendum.

Will we Sri Lankans rally now and make the call and demand? 


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