Sri Lanka to ensure equity to Tamilians

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi | Updated: Oct 16 2010, 05:53am hrs
Sri Lanka is seriously considering a better power sharing mechanism at the national level to ensure equity to all its citizens, particularly the Tamilians and other minorities.

This was stated by Sri Lankas Minister of External Affairs, Prof. GL Peiris, while delivering the second RK Mishra Memorial Lecture, organised by Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in New Delhi on Friday night.

The theme of the lecture was Growth, Equity and Security: Constitutional Imperatives for South Asia.

Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa was the chief guest at the closing ceremony of the 19th Commonwealth Games in Delhi. He met the Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and the President Pratibha Devisingh Patil. Rajapaksa, who was re-elected in January this year defeating the common opposition candidate and former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka, will begin his second innings in office from November 19, 2010 and would announce a new government.

Prof. Peiris said though the 13th Amendment, which empowers the provincial governments, had been a significant achievement in the devolution of power in the island country, Sri Lanka still thinks a lot more needs to be done for better sharing of power and ensuring equity at the national level.

We need a viable power sharing mechanism at the national level. We are seriously considering this, the minister said.

According to Prof Peiris not any particular system of governance is suited for everyone. Saying that Sri Lanka had experimented different kinds of system, he said we need a hybrid system (of different kinds of governance) that combines both first-past-the-post system and the proportional representation system. It will be the best answer to Sri Lankas challenges.

Emphasising on the need for security, Prof. Peiris said Sri Lankan people were now celebrating the emancipation from LTTE (a Tamil outfit) terror which had affected the country for more than two decades.

He said the Sri Lankan government was seeking the active support and help of its diaspora for strengthening and consolidating peace and rebuilding the war-ravaged northern and eastern regions.

Expressing the Sri Lankan Governments resolve to ensure peace in the South Asian region, the minister said his government was working very closely with all its neighbours, especially India, in fighting terror.

Prof. Peiris praised lavishly the Indian judiciary, especially the Supreme Court, for its well balanced jurisprudence based on equity, pro-poor, pro-environment. Pointing out how former Supreme Court Chief Justice PN Bhagwati had converted postcard complaints from poor citizens into public interest litigations (PILs), the minister detailed how the Supreme Court of India came to the rescue when Taj Mahal started betting yellow because of pollution from the state-run Mathura Refineries and in the case of Ayodhya temple dispute.

Trustee of ORF and a senior Supreme Court lawyer, Lalit Bhasin said Indian judiciary also needs to do some soul-searching as it was affected by rampant corruption, long legal delays and lack of transparency in judicial appointments.