People-friendly court system, the need of the hour - Chrishmal Warnasuriya | Sunday Observer
Parliamentary Elections

People-friendly court system, the need of the hour - Chrishmal Warnasuriya

2 August, 2020

UNP Colombo District candidate Chrishmal Warnasuriya who hails from Moratuwa is a practising lawyer who had long been involved in politics. He obtained a Master’s Degree in Laws (Hons) from King’s College and was granted conversion to the UK Bar. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, International Relations and Journalism from the University of Colombo and a Postgraduate Diploma (Hons) in International Relations, Political Science and Conflict Resolution from the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS). In an interview with the Sunday Observer, Warnasuriya said that people have lost faith in the current system of governance and added, “What we need is to change this system and establish a people-friendly court system where the people will have much more access to justice. That is something I am going to fight for.”


Q.What led you to contest the General Election from the UNP ticket?

A:We must try to change the structure of the independent commissions outside the political structure. Politics has got so corrupted that I didn’t want to get involved in it. Even in 2015, I refused the invitation to get into politics. I took this decision because I realised that people have endorsed too much in the party political system.

They are unwilling to look forward outside party politics.

You can have good people in the party and not outside. People are still reluctant to think like those in France or Switzerland. They have not come to full democratic realisation. You have to come to the system to change it. That is what led me to contest from a strong political party such as the UNP. I believe that the people want me to make that change.

Q. People say a majority of former Parliamentarians don’t have the capacity to rebuild the country and capable and qualified people should be elected to the next Parliament. Do you agree with this view?

A: I agree to it. Some people even go beyond it. We have stated it in the UNP manifesto. Some people say that all 225 Parliamentarians should be drowned in the Diyawanna Oya.

Why do people say so? I must tell the people just because you have elected wrong people to Parliament, you can’t destroy the institution. Some people are mistaken about the persons who have served the institution. Parliament represents sovereign legislative power.

You have to elect the right people. You must look at the role of the Parliamentarians.

There are three key aspects of Parliament: formulating policies, law making and fiscal management. But what people expect from Parliamentarians is completely different. They want Parliamentarians to be with them from their birth to death. Parliamentarians need to be in Parliament to fulfil their task.

Q. When the two UNP factions are fighting each other, do you think the UNP is in a position to win the election?

A: I don’t see this as infighting. I don’t see that the UNP has two factions.

There is only one UNP. Some people have broken away. It is a wrong choice. They should have stayed with the party. The leadership is something that you can aspire to. You don’t need to fight and go out. The UNP is a massive democratic party. During D.S.Senanayake’s time, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike broke away and set up a new party, the SLFP. In the 1980s, Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Athulathmudali quit the UNP and formed a new party.

They, later, came back to the UNP. From time to time, members leave the party, but we don’t see that as a faction. If you look at the UNP’s Colombo district list, there are many former Ministers and clean faces who have proven themselves over the past 20-30 years. The party is still strong.

Q. Do you have any specific plan to be implemented if you get elected to Parliament?

A: There has to be an economic plan to take the country forward for the next five years.

I am keen if we can review the Constitution. We must find a Member of Parliament responsible for that area. This is a ludicrous system where I have been asked to canvass all the way from Kolonnawa, Homagama, Avissawella to Moratuwa covering 1.6 million people. I have been asked to look after the Moratuwa seat which has nearly 125,000 people.

The people have chosen candidates like us who can contribute, but we don’t have funds to campaign. We have not given an equal choice to the people to elect the right persons. We should go for an electoral system similar to the first-past-the-post system where there will be an MP responsible for each seat.

I want to work towards alleviating poverty. I am keen on law reforms. People have gradually gone away from the judicial system.

They are reluctant to come to courts. They ask, “How do we settle issues without going to courts.” The people have lost faith in the system of governance. What we need is to change the system and establish a people-friendly court system.