Re: Mobile Message of the President on 1st January 2010
In relation to the SMS received by mobile phone user of Sri Lanka on the 1st January 2010 by the President of Sri Lanka, Transparency International Sri Lanka would like to bring your attention to the following:
• A private telecommunication provider has admitted that the SMS was sent in accordance with a direction given by the Telecommunication Regulator Commission of Sri Lanka. As per Section 5 (f) of the Telecommunication Act no 25 of 1991, Chairperson of TRCSL could send such a message to the citizens of Sri Lanka only in the interest of national security, public order and the defence of the country. Thus the directive of TRCSL is clearly outside the scope of the law. Further this is a violation of Article 12(1) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka, (equality and equal protection of the law), which is broadly interpreted to include all arbitrary actions.
• As the direction is given with the intent of giving a person a wrongful or unlawful advantage, your direction falls within the interpretation of “corruption” within the meaning of section 70 of the Bribery Act and comes within the purview of the Bribery Commission of Sri Lanka.
• Article 104 B (2) of the 17th Amendment speaks of the duty of the Election Commission to secure enforcement of all laws relating to the holding of elections and of the authorities of state charged with the enforcement of such laws. Thus all the authorities of the state shall not misuse power to bestow a wrongful advantage to a particular candidate of the election.
• In view of Article 12(1) of the Constitution and well recognized decisions of the Supreme Court that elections be free and fair, your office has a constitutional duty to ensure that authorities of the state do not act in such a manner as to extend undue advantage to a particular candidate at the election which has an adverse effect on electoral integrity.
It is our sincere hope that as a responsible public officer in Sri Lanka you would support and stand for democratic values uphold by the constitution of Sri Lanka. We further hope that you would take further steps to prevent repetition of similar unlawful activities.
For Transparency International Sri Lanka
J C Weliamuna
CC: Chairperson Bribery Commission of Sri Lanka
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