By Shamindra Ferdinando
Top constitutional lawyer Manohara de Silva, PC, yesterday said that the Attorney General could file an indictment in accordance with Article 157 A against State Minister for child affairs, Vijayakala Maheswaran.
President’s Counsel De Silva said so when The Island asked him what action the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government could take against Maheswaran for call for the revival of the LTTE.
The senior lawyer emphasised that the Attorney General could act on his own. Vijayakala successfully contested the Jaffna electoral District on the UNP ticket after the LTTE assassinated her husband MP T. Maheswaran on January 1, 2008, at Kotahena.
Maheswaran’s assassin was sentenced to death by Colombo High Court Judge Sunil Rajapaksha on Aug 27, 2012.
Vijayakala made the declaration in Jaffna in the presence of foreign minister and former Attorney General Tilak Marapana and Public Administration Minister Vajira Abeywardena.
Manohara de Silva said that in case the Attorney General refrained from acting in this instance, the Court of Appeal could be moved by an interested party.
The Attorney General could be made to fulfil his obligations by filing a writ of mandamus, Counsel De Silva said.
Responding to another query, the lawyer said that in accordance with Article 157 A, indirectly supporting secession was also an indictable offence.
The police could not take action as only the Attorney had the power to indict a person.
Manohara de Silva pointed out as there was sufficient evidence that the primary objective of the LTTE was to divide the country on ethnic lines, reviving the terrorist group therefore amounted to encouraging terrorism.
The State Minister had made controversial statements previously. In Dec 2017, the State Minister had alleged in Jaffna the massacre of 200,000 Tamils along with their leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in the final phase of the war in 2009, he noted.
Former UPFA MP and retired Navy Chief of Staff Sarath Weerasekera told The Island that the government couldn’t ignore the timing of the provocative statement. Weerasekera said that a deliberate attempt was being made to influence the community close on the heels of weapons detection at Oddusudan, east of the Kandy-Jaffna A9 road. Weerasekera alleged that the minister was making an obvious attempt to identify herself with the LTTE for political reasons.
Weerasekera said that the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government and the UNP owed an explanation to the country.
The naval veteran said that the government should be held responsible for the rapid deterioration of the situation in the North.
JVP wants Parliament Privileges Committee to take action
By Saman Indrajith
JVP yesterday called on Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to summon the Parliament Privileges Committee and get it to investigate State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran’s statement calling for the revival of the LTTE.
Addressing a press conference held at the parliamentary complex, JVP Propaganda Secretary MP Vijitha Herath said that his party vehemently condemned the statement made by State Minister Maheshwaran. “We all suffered because of the LTTE and calling for the revival of a terrorist outfit is unconstitutional and against the oath she had taken as an MP. The Speaker should refer the matter to the Privileges Committee and hold an inquiry against the deputy minister. If she is found guilty, then she should be removed from Parliament.”
Herath said that Deputy Minister Maheswaran should apologise to the nation for what she had said.
The MP said that there was anarchy prevailing in the country owing to an increase in the underworld activities. “That is why people are calling for Hitler-type leaders and the LTTE. The government which did nothing while the country was sliding towards anarchy should take the responsibility for this state of affairs. The government should tell whether Maheswaran has articulated its position because she is a State Minister and made that statement at a Presidential Mobile Service in the presence of the Minister of External Affairs and the Minister of Home Affairs.”
MP Hearth said that yesterday’s disruption of parliament sittings and uproar in the House could have been avoided had the government taken some action against the State Minister on the previous day.
“This cannot go unpunished. It will set a wrong precedence if it is not checked right now. The government is bound by the Constitution to take action,” MP Herath said.
Also present at the media briefing were JVP MPs Bimal Ratnayake and Sunil Hendunnetti.