An alien electoral system
Liberty of human beings and protection of property rights are the
essence and foundation of any highly developed and recognized
civilization in the world. It is very evident and cogent that human
beings have obtained liberty after going through long and tedious
journeys. An analytical approach reveals the fact that liberty has many
aspects either granted by law or protected by law in many fields in
History reveals many instances where liberty had played a vital role
in different fields in human life.
Parliament - House for good governance. File photo
Upheavals and vicissitudes of society wherever it is, witness the
above facts in a very unfailing manner. Widespread social and religious
story where it reveals Mahasammatha king enlighten us with the full and
perfect concept of franchise of the people even in choosing their king
many thousands of years ago.
In that concept all the people who were living at that time chose the
person who was most suitable to be their king.
Therefore the king was known as Mahasammatha. "The word Mahasammatha
per se discloses the meaning "accepted by large."
The rationale behind this was that liberty of the human beings was
regarded in a very high and deep manner even in choosing their king.
Sri Lankan kings
So much so this concept was regarded as important, even Sri Lankan
kings used the prefix Mahasammatha before their names as descendants of
Mahasammatha Vansa, many many centuries after this incident.
This everlasting rationale behind the concept of Mahasammatha is
liberty of the subject or more that of human beings who are entitled to
a flexible mechanism in choosing their governors.
It is very respectfully submitted that law recognized the liberty of
human beings or subjects where any infringement had taken place
illegally. For instance, the application for writ of habeas corpus, was
granted for the slave woman whose detention was illegal in England where
slavery was not legal.
This is one of the greatest events where liberty of the subject was
recognized. A free person's protection of property rights also go
hand-in-hand with liberty.
In ancient Sri Lanka also, though there was a monarchy headed
Government many aspects of liberty of the subject was recognized. In
10th Century, B.C. when very remote area like Mahiyangana was
maladministered by the king's administers, people of the area petition
to the king.
The king himself restored the situation back listening to the views
of the subject.
This situation is very clearly manifested in Badulla stone script.
This can be mentioned as a very important and sound element, where the
King himself listened to the views of people, further his subjects.
It is very clearly submitted that, this is a very admirable instance
where, in a monarchy headed state, democracy of the meaning to-day is
not in existence, views of the people or the subjects were very deeply
cared for. At the sametime, this is one of the instances where
flexibility of the attitude of the king is exposed. At the sametime
liberty of the subject, further views of the subject was recognized.
Further their property rights were also very effectively protected by
Law by way of taking the views of the people into consideration.
It is submitted that above mentioned situations witness the fact that
whatever the form of government prevails many aspects of liberty of the
subject, recognising freedom, maintaining flexibility in dealing with
their problems and above all granting legal protection were sine qua non
in upheavals and vicissitudes of the society where ever it was.
The British Government introduced into Sri Lanka, the form of
The present day concept of democracy per se was introduced into Sri
Lanka by the British, franchise, which is one of the aspects of the
liberty of the subject is the background of democracy which is prevalent
today introduced by British. British introduced into Sri Lanka
Parliamentary democracy in 1948 with the independence.
The right of franchise is the result of a long and tedious struggle
even before it was introduced into Sri Lanka. Therefore it is submitted
that what we have received today is a blossomed flower in some other
country. Therefore it is submitted that Parliamentary democracy and
right of franchise both are alien concept to Sri Lanka. Even then after
adopting these concepts, a lot of changes have taken place in those
fields, as the circumstances call for.
In explaining Parliamentary democracy and franchise, it is inevitable
that some more concepts which are inextricable interwoven with those
concepts like Parliamentary Election and methods of performing them need
deep explanation. From 1948 up to 1978, pluralist system was in force in
Sri Lanka in the field of Parliamentary Elections. In the year of 1978
the new Constitution was introduced. The Constitution of Democratic
Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka which is hereinafter referred to as 1978
Constitution was the new Constitution which was introduced in 1978.
The 1978 Constitution is important on many aspects in the field of
Constitution of Sri Lanka.
The 1978 Constitution is the Supreme Legislation in this country
which introduced many fields exposing some aspects of liberty of the
subject along with that of property and of fundamental rights. Such as
fundamental rights. Habeas corpus, law relating to proportional
representation and preferential system, writ of certiorari and property
rights of the people.
Law relating to proportional representation has to be explained in
detail. Before 1978 Constitution the election was held according to the
Since proportional representation and preferential system is
enshrined in the 1978 Constitution, that gets the priority and has to be
followed. These two systems are alien to Sri Lanka. Therefore a complete
and comparative analysis is desirable in these fields.
As I have submitted in the above mentioned paragraphs of his article
proportional representation and preferential system are alien to Sri
Lanka. The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution 1978 deals with
these two concepts.
According to Article 99(2) every elector at an election of members of
Parliament shall, in addition to his vote, be entitled to indicate his
preferences for not more than three candidates nominated by the same
recognized political party or independent group.
There can only be one nomination paper setting out the names of such
numbers of candidates as is equivalent to the number of members to be
elected for that electoral district, increased by three.
Then votes polled by disqualified parties and disqualified
independent groups shall be deducted from the total votes polled at the
election in that electoral district and the number of votes resulting
from such deduction is hereinafter referred to as the relevant number of
votes. The relevant number of votes shall be divided by number of
members to be elected for that electoral district reduced by one. That
is considered as resulting number.
A recognized political party and an independent group which polls the
highest number of votes is entitled to get a candidate nominated by it,
who has secured the highest number of preferences, declared elected.