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Formalise taking of oaths



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Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister C.V. Vigneswaran was sworn in before President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees in Colombo on Oct 07. Governor of the Northern Province G.A. Candrasiri is also in the picture.


By Nalin de Silva


It is reported that a member of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) has taken oaths before a medical doctor in Mullavaikkal. It is not known whether this particular member went to the Mullativ District to take his oaths in order to pay his respects to the terrorists and their leader Prabhakran who were recognized by the west as an invincible outfit and a world class expert in guerrilla warfare respectively. Some members of the NPC belonging to EPRLF, TELO and TULF earlier threatened to go to Mullavaikkal to take oaths but it appears that they have now chosen to take oaths before the Chief Minister of the Northern Province.


However, it is clear that there are two factions within the TNA, one broadly following the Indian line and the other following the dispersed Tamils living in the western countries. These dispersed Tamils are working on the instructions of the western countries, and Canada deciding to boycott the CHOGM, and both England and Canada withdrawing funds to the Commonwealth are only parts of this "war game" against Sri Lanka without a formal war. If the Commonwealth dies out of lack of funds it would be for the good of the non-white countries in the commonwealth, and we would welcome more and more cuts on funds by the white countries. If one were to take stocks it would be found that it is the white countries that have benefitted from the commonwealth and not the non white countries.


I know that most of the pundits would not agree with me, but the Sinhala Villagers know by intuition, though not through so-called analysis, what is happening and the latter are only interested in seeing Mahinda Mahattaya presiding over the "suddas" in the next two years. The white countries would most probably fund the Commonwealth again after two years as they get more benefits out of it than what they lose by way of funding. They do not want to see the Commonwealth die a natural death due to lack of funds though the Sinhala villagers would not want the commonwealth after Mahinda Mahattaya hands over chairmanship. The pundits, of course, would want the Commonwealth to continue as they could pick up a scholarship, fellowship or a foreign trip through that outfit.


The faction of the TNA sponsored by the west through the dispersed Tamils in their countries is pro-LTTE and Prabhakaran and would have been happy to see Vigneswaran taking oaths before Sampanthan or some other Tamil leader in the presence of western diplomats either in Jaffna or Vaikkal, but saner counsel prevailed probably at the insistence of India, which does not want to see another Prabhakaran emerge. The TNA faction led by the Troika (Thrimurthi) of Sampanthan, Vigneswaran and Sumanthiran that toeing the Indian line seems to be more popular than the Premachandran faction at present, but they should realise that the latter is a threat to them politically and even otherwise.


The Premachandran faction wanted to take the advantage provided by the Constitution that in the Provincial Councils nothing is stated about the procedure that has to be adopted in taking oaths by the members of the Provincial Council. Besides it is the ordinary oath prescribed in the fourth schedule that has to be taken by members of a provincial council whereas the Members of Parliament have to take the oath prescribed in the seventh schedule before the Speaker. The respective oaths are given below:


The oath prescribed in the fourth schedule: "I ............................................................. do solemnly declare and affirm / swear that I will faithfully perform the duties and discharge the functions of the office of ........................................ in accordance with the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the law, and that I will be faithful to the Republic of Sri Lanka and that I will to the best of my ability uphold and defend the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka."


The oath prescribed in the seventh schedule: "I ..................................................... do solemnly declare and affirm / swear that I will uphold and defend the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and that I will not, directly or indirectly, in or outside Sri Lanka, support, espouse, promote, finance, encourage or advocate the establishment of a separate State within the territory of Sri Lanka."


There are glaring differences between the two oaths and the government should bring legislation so that at least in the future all members representing the people not only in the Parliament but also in the Provincial Councils, Municipal Councils, Urban Councils, Pradeshiya Sabhas, should take the oath prescribed in the Seventh Schedule before authorities specified in each case. For example the Chief Ministers of Provincial Councils, as has been the tradition, should take the oath before the President of the country in the presence of the relevant Governor, and the other members should be required to take the oath before the Governor/Chief Minister of the Provincial council. The ministers of the Provinces should be appointed from among the members who have taken the oath and no minister should be appointed before taking the oath.


The chairpersons of the Municipal Councils, Urban councils should take the oath before the Governor/Chief Minister of the Province and the members of the respective bodies should be required to take the oath before the relevant chairperson with the members allowed to meet without taking the oath only for the purpose of electing the Chairperson.


s it is, as the member of the NPC has shown any elected member could take the oath prescribed in the Fourth Schedule that does not prevent the member from engaging in activities to "support, espouse, promote, finance, encourage or advocate the establishment of a separate State within the territory of Sri Lanka" before anybody, and in fact even before a terrorist. They could, in fact, take the oath before any Justice of the Peace. Sampanthan and Sumanthiran who as Members of the Parliament have taken the oath prescribed in the Seventh Schedule should not object any legislation to extend the oath to the members of the bodies elected by the people by universal franchise. India should and could not object to such legislation as it is purely an internal matter of the country and no other country should interfere with legislation by the Parliament.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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