Talks on to restore ‘One Law’ PTF’s ‘original intent’ 

BY Pamodi Waravita 

Discussions are underway to restore the original intention of the Extraordinary Gazette which appointed the Presidential Task Force for “One Country, One Law”, as the current one, although it is unclear at this point whether or not the Gazette will be amended in that process, The Morning reliably learnt.

“The Gazette did not reflect the original intention behind creating the said Task Force as it was done to conceptualise the thinking behind ‘One Country, One Law’. It was not done to undermine the Justice Ministry in any way and plans are underway to fix this,” an official government source told The Morning yesterday (9).

The Sunday Morning reported on 7 November that Justice Minister President’s Counsel M.U.M. Ali Sabry has handed in his resignation letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, citing concerns expressed by members of the legal fraternity over the appointment of the aforementioned PTF, headed by controversial Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera. However, The Sunday Morning further reported that the President had rejected the resignation and had assured that the PTF was formed to present a concept on “One Country, One Law” and not to formulate laws, noting that the formulation of the laws will be vested with the Justice Ministry.

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) on 2 November said, in a letter to President Rajapaksa, that the said PTF would usurp the functions of many institutions which are already established under the Constitution, including the Parliament and the Justice Ministry.

Meanwhile, a number of Opposition political parties and civil society groups have condemned the decision to appoint Gnanasara Thera as the Chairman of the new PTF. The Samagi Jana Balawegeya (SJB) has said that the harmful consequences of Gnanasara Thera’s actions and words in targeting the minority Muslim population are evident whilst Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) Parliamentarian Shanakiyan Rasamanickam claimed that it is ironic that somebody who has violated the Constitution multiple times was put in charge of making recommendations about the concept of “One Country, One Law” to the President. The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) organisation which has been proscribed by the present Government, claimed that the appointment displays the lack of respect for the rule of law and pluralism by the present administration.