There was something fascist in the ‘democracy campaign’ to resurrect a dead Parliament | Sunday Observer

There was something fascist in the ‘democracy campaign’ to resurrect a dead Parliament

7 June, 2020

The Order dismissing the Fundamental Rights petitions in the dissolution case, was a deserved slap on the face of the Opposition and the so-called activist fringe. But it was also a deserved slap on the face of some Colombo University legal pundits and others of that ilk who were aiding and abetting these agent provocateurs.

M. A. Sumanthiran, Counsel for one of the petitioners who later morphed in the duration of the case to ‘lead Counsel’, was intimidating to the point of haranguing the Court in his submissions — but it got him or his brief nowhere last week. He seemed hell-bent on compelling the Honorable judges of the Supreme Court to deliver an Order in his favour because, according to him, all of the issues of his current challenge over the dissolution of Parliament, had been already resolved in the November 2018 dissolution case.

With his finger wagging at the Bench he tried to intimidate Court into believing that not only had the matter been decided in the 2018 case, but that judgement in 2018 was binding on the current Bench which, therefore, had to rule in favour of him and the petitioners.

Sumanthiran’s arrogance seemed to be based upon a risible overestimation of his own abilities. In short, the man thinks no end of himself, without having an iota of real acumen to back up his own grossly exaggerated self-esteem.

His attempt to arm-twist the Court into ruling in his favour on the basis that there was a prior binding judgment was symptomatic of the Opposition’s entire circus of an effort to derail the impending elections, and catapult themselves to power by hiding within the corpse of a dead and discredited parliament.

This was the most self-serving exercise in power-grabbing since the coloniser slashed and burned themselves into dominance over this island with the Uva Wellassa massacre. I’m exaggerating of course — but only by a bit.

Sumanthiran had the audacity to submit to Court that the Opposition, risibly styling itself as the cabal for ‘responsible cooperation’, had its sights on offering National-Government type of emergency support to the Government during a time of crisis.

But, he and his caboose in his train wreck of a legal campaign, being trailed in the rear by the equally mendacious Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu and Victor Ivan, were transparently wrecking all the admirable gains made in containing Covid-19, and attempting to create mayhem for their own personal political survival and advantage. To claim in the same breath that they were engaging in all that disruption for National-Government type of conscientious cooperation, required a monumental effort at duplicity and hypocrisy in tandem.


The entire idea of portraying the Covid-19 exigency and the excellent manner in which the President was able to contain it as ‘perhaps the greatest threat to democracy ever’ as Sumanthiran put it in Court, required some chutzpah. But more than chutzpah, it required an extraordinary measure of stupidity as well.

Some sort of technical legal contortion was attempted to hold out that just because the declared elections could not be held due to the Covid 19 pandemic, that the proclamation of the President declaring the dissolution of Parliament became invalidated.

The ‘legal fiction’ adduced to say that the framers of the Constitution did not envisage a more than three-month period without a Parliament was not a legal fiction as urged, it was a fiction through and through — a barefaced concoction that insulted the intelligence of anyone with half a brain.

But the theory was pushed in all types of legal publications and various national forums as if it was sacrosanct, and as if it was indeed the greatest pivot towards democracy and the Rule of Law  that was made since the ancient Greeks.

As was written in my column in the weeks preceding the case and the Order, this kind of mealy mouthedness could only be the work of shysters such as Sumanthiran and the fellow shyster-brigade in the UNP and the non-governmental organisations such as the CPA, which came forward to foist this whole manufactured alarmist ‘democracy crisis’ on our people.

Sumanthiran was not relenting at all, at one point submitting that the 2018 November dissolution case prompted the Supreme Court to grant leave in one and a half days, whereas the current Bench in this case was taking over ten days to deliberate the matter of leave.

Here was an example of their mendacity taking over and making these shysters believe in their own fantastic lies. They believed in their own hype moreover about what they called a ‘historic campaign’ on that occasion in 2018.

They were running away with the idea that one flash in the pan success has given them a halo of respectability that would make everyone stand and bow down to their superior wisdom, when they were making forbidding legal pronouncements about the ‘abdication of democracy’ due to the recent dissolution.


The Supreme Court put paid to this grotesque level of disruptive humbuggery by dismissing all of the petitions, summarily disallowing leave to proceed.

That these shysters were allowed to inflict damage by causing the Elections Commission to delay preparing for the poll pending the Supreme Court order, is an unconscionable disruption in this time of national angst over the pandemic.

Everything gets delayed now as a result, including the proper funding of the economic resurrection effort. There should be some accountability for this kind of lapse caused purely due to the desire of the Opposition to sit in the old Parliament using the Covid-19 crisis.

That’s extremely cynical and self-serving conduct, couched as an exercise in strengthening democracy. No doubt citizens have the right to come to Court, but when that right is abused for self-aggrandisement, citizens have a right to call out the humbugs too.

But what’s more shocking is the utter disregard for issues such as mandate. To crow around and coo for democracy and Rule of Law and then try to smother the elected Executive in the same process, smacks of a sense of entitlement that’s mind-numbingly callous and obnoxious. 

That legal eagle — a senior don — from Colombo campus epitomised this callous disregard for mandate in her ostensible quest for democracy and the Rule of Law etc. She wrote a few weeks back, that ‘The President’s failure to accept that Parliament is now re-instated after June 2 will involve a serious violation of the Constitution.  This will contribute to a constitutional crisis and a conflict between Parliament and the President. A general election held in these circumstances will be illegal.’

Notice how easy it is for these ‘constitutional experts’ to decide in advance that an election held and presumably returning an SLPP government to power becomes ‘illegal’ after it’s done and dusted? You can be sure however, that if such an election by some incredible against-the-odds happenstance puts a UNP government in power, the same luminary would decide quite smugly that the election is not illegal after all.


The same scant regard for mandate is what prompted Sumanthiran, Paikiasothy and his fellow travellers to go to Court in a disruptive self-serving bid for their cabal to cling onto power on the back of a dead parliament.

They screamed to the rafters that they were for democracy but forgot the fact that the people had decisively given a mandate to the President as recently as November of last year. Sumanthiran implored the Supreme Court this week in his concluding submissions, to pay heed to the judgment that was given ‘only a few months ago.’

 He was referring to the judgment in the 2018 dissolution case. That’s some definition of a ‘few months’, considering that the said Order was given in November of the year before last.

But a man who thinks a lapse of more than one and a half years is a few months, finds no problem totally forgetting the mandate given by the people barely six months back, that decidedly made the Parliament in which he was in the governing coalition, a total dead letter.

That’s the kind of regard these people who want to strengthen democracy and Rule of Law have, for the sovereign people’s will in this country. The word shyster doesn’t seem to begin to describe these rather remarkable specimens.