Thank You Ratnajeevan Hoole – You proved that Elections Commission is NOT INDEPENDENT or UNBIASED
14 fundamental rights petitions were filed at the Supreme Courts today 12 November 2018 against the dissolution of Parliament. One petitioner was Prof. S. R. H Hoole & who is Prof Hoole? He is a member of a supposed to be independent Election commission set up by the 19th amendment in April 2015. Now, you may ask why is an independent commission member dashing to the Supreme Court to file an FR against the dissolution of Parliament? Good question, this is what we demand to know too. The whole world was told that independent commissions were the answer to all ills. We were told ‘distinguished’, unbiased, professional, super civil society individuals were picked to be members of these independent commissions. However, not only has Hoole shown his bias we are now questioning the conflict of interest & flouting of public position for personal gain of all other appointees of the other 11 independent commissions too.
Elections Commission was set up via the 19a amending Article 103. The Election Commission was to have 3 members recommended by the Constitutional Council & appointed by the President. These appointees were to be ‘distinguished’ persons. Hoole has proved how ‘distinguished’ he is.
The Chairman of the Election Commission is Mahinda Deshapriya who was appointed in November 2015, prior to his appointed he was the Elections Commissioner from March 2011 to November 2015. The annual budget allocated to the Election Commission is Rs.4.6billion.
Besides Mahinda Deshapriya, N J Abeysekara & Prof. Hoole make up the 3 member Election Commission manned by 674 staff. R M A L R Rathnayaka functions as the Director General Elections.
Very strange & unusual powers have been vested to the Constitutional Council via the 19a “Subject to the provisions of Article 126, no court shall have the power or jurisdiction to entertain, hear or decide or call in question, on any ground whatsoever, or in any manner whatsoever, any decision of the Council or any approval or recommendation made by the Council, which decision, approval or recommendation shall be final and conclusive for all purposes.” (what kind of democracy is this, if their decisions cannot be questioned)
What is noteworthy about the petitions filed are the personalities & parties filing them – UNP, JVP, TNA, CPA, Transparency International, were all part of the umbrella alliance that campaigned vigorously to promote Maithripala Sirisena as the common candidate thereby facilitating Ranil to become the PM and UNP to enter Parliament virtually from the backdoor as is the case from January to August 2015.
Let us presume that Hoole was so disturbed by the unconstitutional act of dissolving parliament that he was compelled to file a FR against the dissolution, was he deaf, blind & dumb when Ranil was elected PM without removing the sitting PM, where was he when after August 2015 there was no election till February 2018 – and he was a member of that Election Commission! Where was this Hoole when Mohan Pieris was unceremoniously removed as Chief Justice? We had a foreign Governor who robbed our Central Bank, where was Hoole then? The public have every right to question this Election Commission member, a person who completely ignores these violations & dashes to the Supreme Court against the dissolution of parliament only. This is not what a person who is paid by tax payers money should be doing. Fine, if he disagrees, first resign from portfolio & then file FR, but how dare he abuse his office, abuse the Commission of which he was selected as a Member? Politicians and public officials have to serve the nation not their personal interests or conscience. If that is more important than serving the nation, then they must honorably leave their public role & uphold their personal interests. They cannot mix up both – this is a major conflict of interest & a dereliction of duty.
Moreover, how fair is it for a US citizen to be a member of an independent election commission when dual citizens are specifically denied from contesting elections?
From the appointments since 2015 to the amendments to laws, penal codes etc we can see that a planned network of individuals have been placed in strategic roles to damage the system & cause mayhem. Notice that all the groups that galvanized to bring yahapalana to power are now in a frenzy to salvage it from the conundrum it has fallen to largely as a result of its own making. 19a was brought with the hidden intent to usurp the people’s power from a political catspaw of a common-candidate President who was too naïve to pick up on the larger plans being laid out by these groups.
What Hoole’s action has done which is really a blessing in disguise is to expose the fascade that was built around these independent commissions as having distinguished personalities with untarnished records. Pick all the members of the commissions even the new appointees as well as the constitutional council members and they all have bleak & tarnished record against their name – we can now see the allegations against the Human Rights Commissioner too. These commission members can be likened to the quote ‘just like one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’ – no wonder they are all ganging up to now save those that they helped bring to power, while the rest of us can now cry out ‘we told you so, they are a bunch of biased hypocrites playing a bigger & treacherous role’ against the interests of the State.
Shenali D Waduge