In the lead up to the 2019 presidential election, a major theme of the then opposition which was promoting Gotabaya Rajapaksa as its candidate was ‘one country, one law’.

The reference, of course, was to the Muslim community which had different laws governing them for issues such as marriage. One and a half years later though, we have to seriously question whether Sri Lanka is indeed a state where there is one law for everyone.

The media and perhaps more so, the social media has been awash with the recent shenanigans involving a model, a bridal make-up artist and their attempts to have a birthday bash right in the middle of travel restrictions that were being enforced to try and curb the devastating third wave of the corona virus pandemic that is claiming about fifty lives every day.

Curiously, the offenders were detained by the Police only to be released on bail a short while later, when they should have been sent in to quarantine. That was not surprising however because the offenders had links to people in high places.

It took an interview from an independent journalist with the official Police Spokesman to get at the truth. The spokesman, bless him, stated that they had placed all facts before the courts of law which then decided to release the alleged offenders on bail and send them on their way.

The controversy that this generated was sufficient to get the alleged offenders packed off to a quarantine centre but the drama was far from over. Now it was the turn of the Minister of Public Security, Sarath Weerasekara to open his mouth and put both his feet firmly in.

It came to light that the bus carrying the alleged offenders was diverted to the ThalangamaPolice Station, so the alleged miscreants- the model included- could have some fresh clothes. After obtaining these, the bus made its way to the quarantine centre.


The incident would be laughable and discarded as a comedy of errors if not for the fact that it underlines what many had suspected for long: this government is no different to its predecessors; it has one law for the average citizen and another for the privileged few, the elite and their hangers on. For some others, the law does not apply at all.

It is also futile to simply blame the President, the Prime Minister, ministers et al for this state of affairs. The entire law and order apparatus in the country has been manipulated to such an extent that all state officers including those in the judiciary have become subservient to politicians; they dare not question the impropriety of any action when it comes under the caveat of being sanctioned by a powerful politician.

Consider a few recent examples. Ranjan Ramanayake, given an out of proportion sentence for the offence of contempt of court, is barred from entering Parliament by the Speaker. The same speaker allows Premalal Jayasekara, a convicted murderer who is a parliamentarian from the ruling party, to attend Parliament!

Recently a spate of court decisions exonerated several ruling party politicians and other acolytes from various offences they had been charged with during the previous regime. The list is long but the names of Johnston Fernando, Rohitha Abeygunawardena and NissankaSenadhipathi come readily to mind- and therefore, hope must surely be springing in young Duminda Silva!

Similarly, former President Maithripala Sirisena, against whom criminal proceedings have been recommended by a presidential commission he himself appointed, roams free by virtue of switching sides in the nick of time.


Conversely, the wheels of justice were turning at lightning speed for those in the opposition. Apart from Ramanayake, Rishard Bathiudeen is already in prison and processes have been set in motion to deal with Patali Champika Ranawakaand Rajitha Senaratne, two of the most vociferous critics of the present government.

Another aspect which highlighted the inequality in Sri Lankan society was the vaccine roll out for the corona virus pandemic. With the government not having the foresight to order sufficient stocks of vaccines and dabbling in magic potions and pots of holy water instead, the precious vaccine was in short supply and one had to be ‘somebody’s somebody’ to get early access to the vaccine.

The cat was let out of the bag by the model who is at the centre of the birthday bash controversy herself when she proudly proclaimed that she had been vaccinated- raising questions as to how, given her young age, she got vaccinated when she did not fit in to the designated priority categories.

Then there was of course that disgraceful drama where the doctors’ trade union, the Government Medical Officers’ Association got their extended family members shamelessly vaccinated over and above other healthcare workers’ families.

There are also other times when some appear to be more equal than others. Land belonging to two leading schools in Colombo, one in Borellaand the other a stone’s throw away in CinamonGardens have been earmarked for the benefit of others. There have been many protests against this arbitrary action but they have fallen on deaf years. Again, the process of the law appears to be silent with those in power being able to override all concerns and considerations and act according to their whims and fancies to please the correct people.


Yet another institution that appears to be above the law is Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). Recently there was much collective breast beating about the pathetic state of Sri Lanka’s cricket and how its management should be in the hands of respected past cricketers and other men of integrity, not those in the betting industry who are out to make a fast buck. Even the new Minister of Sports Namal Rajapaksa made some noises to that effect. Yet, when the elections for SLC were concluded last month, it was more of the same- the same lot who ran SLC by proxy for the last so many years are back in office for a few years more.          

So, let us not fool ourselves. There is no ‘one country, one law’. This is one country still but there are different laws for different people and which ones apply to you depend on whose side you are on!


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