SRI LANKA: Reflections on Sri Lanka’s Constitution 

Basil Fernando


The picture above speaks for itself. It depicts what happened to a young man who went to get police assistance to stop illegal gambling happening near his house.

When the man went to police station to find about what action had been taken on his complaint the police sergeant who had earlier taken down the complaint behaved strangely. The picture shows what he did to the complainant.

Why did the sergeant do that? No Sri Lankan will find it hard to guess — the gamblers knew how to get the police officer on their side.

There is nothing unusual about the story. It is now, more often than not an example of what happens in both small and very serious matters.

The citizen that does the right thing gets into trouble and one who dares to do wrong thrives — in everything — business, politics et all.

The situation prevailing in the country is what is known as abysmal lawlessness. To go by the law is to be the loser while the law breaker is the winner.

The all important question is how did this come about? How did this happen? The answer is very simple – it was by way of the country’s constitution, which was adopted in 1978. It was a constitution made to defeat law and discipline; to create an almighty ruler, who is above the law — a supremo — a brother who is number one.

The result is the chaos we see every day.

To fail to understand this is to fail to understand anything about Sri Lanka.

Without law, without control of corruption, what can policing mean, except what is depicted in this cartoon.

The case mentioned above took place a short time ago. For details please refer to SRI LANKA: A complainant was illegally arrested, detained and tortured by officers of the Ma Oya Police Post

Document Type : Article
Document ID : AHRC-ART-106-2010
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Institutional reform,