Special Rights and Privileges of the Parliamentarians in Sri Lanka

I am not too sure with this law or tradition where the Members of Parliament (MPs) enjoy a special right or privilege when it comes to them being arrested as suspects of crimes. When an MP is to be arrested, the police need to inform (or is it get permission?) from the Speaker of the House. They say all are equal before the law of a country but why the MPs are treated as in the case of George Orwell’s political novel “Animal Farm” where “some pigs are more equals than the others?” (Pun intended.)

I spoke to a few lawyers to get clarification on the above-mentioned right. Is it a legal right or a special privilege the MPs enjoy? But all the lawyers I contacted said they are not certain about it. (Oh those lawyers!) 

If this is a privilege in a European or a North American country, I won’t mind as the MPs in those countries mostly respect themselves, the law of the land, the people they represent. But in this part of the world, the MPs are worse than the general public and so I am of the view that the Sri Lankan MPs should NOT be granted such special rights or privileges.  The people who make laws and policies for the country should have a cleaner track record than the rest of the citizens and if the former hide under the privileges and evade law being exercised against them, how can they represent us, the citizens? In our parliament since Independence, we have had more criminals (murderers, rapists, child abusers, drug dealers, rogue businessmen, illegal brothel owners, liquor shop owners, swindlers of public funds, bribe-takers, ransom demanders, tax evaders and what not?) in the parliament than out of it, if one looks at the statistics as a percentage. 

So, I would suggest that these rights and privileges are taken off at least until the public votes in saner and honest representatives to the parliament to represent them.  

Animal Farm – George Orwell


Animal Farm - George Orwell

Animal Farm – George Orwell

George Orwell’s Animal Farm is a short, yet very meaningful novel on the communist rule of Joseph Stalin of Soviet Russia. The novel is set in pre-World War II era. Orwell compares the Soviet Union to an animal farm. The book talks about the corruption, greed, ignorance, power struggle and wickedness of communist rule.

Napoleon, a pig is Stalin and Snowball, another pig is Leon Trotsky. Snowball is the original leader of the farm after the overthrow of the farm owner, Mr Jones but Napoleon manipulates things and wants to become the leader of the animals.

Snowball is farsighted and tries to teach animals reading and writing. There is plenty of food in the farm and it runs smoothly. At the same time Napoleon builds his power by training the puppies as guards. (This is similar to how Stalin used the KGB to suppress those who resisted his advances.)

Snowball opposes some of Napoleon’s illogical and unfair moves. Napoleon s hatred against Snowball and when Snowball announces the plans to build a windmill to supply power to the farm, Napoleon uses his trained dogs to chase Snowball away and declares himself the undisputed leader. (This is similar to what Stalin did to Trotsky by causing him to flee the country and live an exiled life in Central America. However, the subsequent assassination of Trotsky is not depicted in the novel as it happened in a later time.)

The pigs become a special class in the farm and are fed better food. A committee of pigs rules the farm and Napoleon is the head. Napoleon declares that Snowball stole the idea of windmill from him. And the animals work on building a windmill as a plan by Napoleon. The windmill breaks down due to a violent storm but Napoleon convinces that Snowball sabotaged the windmill. Napoleon starts to kill the animals he dislikes by accusing them consorting with Snowball. He uses the dogs he trained to kill animals.

With time passing, the pigs start to walk upright and wear clothes and armed with whips. Napoleon imposes “The Seven Commandments” which reduces to just a single phrase saying “All animals are equals, but some animals are more equal than others” meaning that the pigs are to be treated better.