Prof. Ravindra Fernando narrates : ‘The fifty-two day saga – political crisis in Sri Lanka’ | Sunday Observer

Prof. Ravindra Fernando narrates : ‘The fifty-two day saga – political crisis in Sri Lanka’

24 February, 2019

History is who we are and why we are, the way we are - David McCullough

It is important to record events that become history. The writer must ensure that the facts are accurate without any bias.

Prof. Ravindra Fernando’s latest book on the political coup or as some may call it the “Constitutional Crisis” has come out under the title “The fifty-two day saga – political crisis in Sri Lanka”.

Prof. Fernando who is the Emeritus Professor of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, University of Colombo and senior professor of Forensic Medicine at the General Sir John Kothalawala Defence university has written over 20 medic-legal books.

This newest addition deals with the events that took place during the 52 days that emanated from the decision to remove the Prime Minister of the Country – Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the position made vacant arbitrarily.

The events and decisions came to light in the days following this new appointment and how the other arms of governance; the Legislature and the Judiciary reacted and responded created history and this has been very well and accurately captured in the book.

In the future if and where there is the need to find information on this incident for academic or any other research purposes, the book will give an overall coverage of it from many aspects.

The book details the roles played by political parties, such as the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and that of the international community.

This book narrates the background to the actions of President Maithripala Sirisena and the political crisis that continued for 52 days. During this period, there was unprecedented behaviour of the MPs in Parliament. Eventually, sanity prevailed when the seven judges of the Supreme Court gave their decision.

“I believe that his book will be a valuable historic document for all politicians, lawyers, researches and historians,” Prof. Fernando says.

The book, in one of its chapters, extensively narrates the significant role played by the Speaker of the House in maintaining rationale to a certain degree amidst mayhem and uncertainty.

The unforgettable events that unfolded within the well of the Parliament degrading its stature to an all-time low, the book refers to a statement by a former minister and the son of a former speaker raising questions of value and democracy.

“The assaults – physical and verbal, directed at the respected Speaker of Parliament, who was not only a former officer of the Army, but also a senior citizen, is exceedingly humiliating. Our country is the oldest democratic nation in Asia. The people of a civilised democracy appoint members of Parliament as their representatives as it is impossible for the people to come together at every instance of decision-making. Is this the manner in which they who were appointed for decision-making on our behalf, conduct themselves?”

The book also carries the complete judgment given by the seven-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court invalidating the decision of the President to prorogue Parliament before the lapse of four-and-a-half years.

This decision arrived by the Bench after days of hearing President’s Counsel and other eminent Counsel arguing for and against is considered to be a decision that will refine the country’s legal thinking and place independence of the judiciary on a pedestal.