News

‘One Law’ Task Force mandate amended: Only to give proposals to form conceptual framework

  • Membership expanded with 3 Tamils

BY Pamodi Waravita

The mandate of the Extraordinary Gazette appointing the Presidential Task Force for “One Country, One Law” has been amended to expand its membership to have Tamil ethnic representation and to allow it to only present proposals for the formulation of a conceptual framework for One Country, One Law.

The three new members are Ramalingam Chakrawarthy Karunakaran, Yogeswari Patgunarajah, and Iyyampillai Dayanandaraja.

Accordingly, the amended mandate is to “present proposals for formulating a conceptual framework ideally suited for Sri Lanka, after making a study of the said concept, taking into account the views and opinions held by various parties with regard to the implementation of the concept: One Country, One Law.”

The Task Force, chaired by Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagodaththe Gnanasara Thera, who has been implicated in inciting hate and violence towards the Muslim community, has garnered criticism from various quarters, including the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL).

Justice Minister President’s Counsel (PC) M.U.M. Ali Sabry had handed over his resignation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in protest, which the President had declined to accept, and then assured that the work of the Task Force would not undermine the Justice Ministry in any way.

When questioned in Parliament regarding the matter, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday (10) that the Task Force was formed to “gather ideas and proposals from various people regarding the said concept, to study it and to make a regulatory framework about making regulations unique to Sri Lanka”.

However, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)-led National People’s Power (NPP) Leader and Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake questioned the specific criteria behind appointing the members of the Task Force and its specific goal.

“We understand that the President has the power to appoint a Task Force but he must consider some criteria before appointing members to it. For example, the new Constitution drafting committee consists of educated professionals and PCs. We may have criticisms about the work they do but we have a certain consideration for them and there is a certain trust that is created. The Premier, who has earlier been a President for a long time, also knows that when you formulate a Task Force, you must look at suitable nominees for its members from that subject field. What do you hope to achieve by appointing members who in the recent past wanted to prohibit freedoms enjoyed by various communities, to this Task Force?” questioned Dissanayake.