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Shall expedite legal reforms, not make laws: Venerable Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera

 

  • Task Force Chair Gnanasara Thera speaks out
  • Claims his appointment due to Govt./Opposition failures 
  • Notes issues in madrasas, Quazi courts, Sharia banking 

 

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

Presidential Task Force on “One Country, One Law” Chairman Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera stated that even though the said Task Force chaired by him cannot make laws, it will expedite the process of bringing about legal reforms that have been delayed due to various unscientific processes and political influences in the past.

Speaking to the media at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC) yesterday (1), the monk who is also the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary, said: “At present, even laws and regulations that have been drafted on issues that are hotly debated in society have not been passed. As a Presidential Task Force, we don’t make laws, but we hope to speed up the process.” 

Claiming that many parties including the Buddhist clergy, have, in the past, fought for these issues, the monk said that the legal reforms process however, has not been able to proceed properly due to the lack of speed on the part of the parties concerned. He alleged that various unscientific processes and political influences were the main reasons for this.

Meanwhile, the media also questioned him regarding the criticism made by various parties including the parliamentary Opposition regarding his appointment as the Chairman of the said Task Force.

In response, he said: “There is nothing to say about the Government and Opposition parties that talk about me. They are the reason for all this. The reason why President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed this Task Force is because they have not fulfilled their responsibilities properly.” 

During the discussion, he was also questioned about the composition of the Task Force, especially the lack of representation of the Tamil community. The monk, in reply, said that the Task Force should be appreciated if it is to function properly without any racial or religious differences. “I mean, it doesn’t even need Muslim representation, but there was a lot of talk about the madrasas (Islamic educational institutions), Quazi courts, and Sharia (Islamic law) banking following the Easter Sunday terror attacks. That is why several Muslim representatives were appointed.” 

Speaking further, he said that great care should be taken in selecting representatives for this purpose. He noted, for example, that Tamils in Jaffna could oppose the appointment of a Tamil representative to the Task Force from Kandy. “One must be very careful in appointing representatives for such a Task Force in a context where there is no consensus among their own communities.” 

Meanwhile, President’s Media Spokesman Kingsly Rathnayake said that during a recent event at the Temple Trees, a certain group had questioned the absence of representation of Tamil nationals in the said Task Force, adding that the President had then expressed his consent to nominate one or more Tamil representatives in the future, if necessary.

A 13-member Task Force was appointed by President Rajapaksa on 27 October for the implementation of the “One Country, One Law” concept.

The Task Force is Chaired by Ven. Gnanasara Thera, while Senior Assistant Secretary to the President Jeevanthie Senanayake is its Secretary. As per an extraordinary gazette issued in this regard, the Task Force is tasked with preparing a draft Act for the implementation of the “One Country, One Law” concept.

The other members of the Task Force are Prof. Dayananda Banda, Prof. Shanti Nandana Wijesinghe, Prof. Sumedha Siriwardena, N.G. Sujeewa Panditharathna, Attorney-At-Law (AAL) Iresh Seneviratne, AAL Sanjaya Marambe, Eranda Navaratna, Pani Wewala, Moulavi Mohamed of the Galle Ulama Council, Mohamed Inthikab, Kaleel Rahman, and Azeez Nizardeen. 

The Task Force has been instructed to submit monthly reports to President Rajapaksa, while the final report is due to be submitted on or before 28 February 2022.