opinion

Settling disputes through Dhamma , not Courts

10 October 2019 - 120   - 1

At a time when women are more prone to display their biological assets highlighting the private domain while corruption gallops behind the facade of  the puritanistic white national dress and shameless  public servants crawl before their political deities, this is a rare story of an honest police officer  who silently settles disputes not through courts but with his knowledge of the dhamma.


By Afreeha Jawad

At a time when women are more prone to display their biological assets highlighting the private domain while corruption gallops behind the facade of  the puritanistic white national dress and shameless  public servants crawl before their political deities, this is a rare story of an honest police officer  who silently settles disputes not through courts but with his knowledge of the dhamma.

Nittambuwa Headquarters Inspector Anura Gunawardena has earned quite a reputation of easing the court ‘s workload earning the goodwill of even speaker Karu Jayasuriya whose instant response to Gunawardene’s latest dhamma panacea endevour was star-studded recognition of him.

Gunawardene’s recent feather in his cap was highlighted in one of the Sinhala dailies recently that caught the speaker’s attention making him stand out amidst corrupt politicians to whom such stories are not even of least importance. 

Encroaching on a military officer’s land was a water company owner who showed up before Gunawardene last week. The lawyers insisted that their client was in possession of the land and that the military officer had no right over it. “ yes, you are sure to win this case over the heartburn of its lawful owner. But remember the invisible natural law will dispense poetic justice someday and you will go to smithereens. “  Ditta dhamma Vedanta,” said the stern HQI that compelled the lawyers to give up on the case bringing relief to the poor victim.


That legal judgment may not always be moral for they are two highly polarized states was Gunawardene’s highlight. In a country where red tape and protocol are venerated and held sky high never mind the law’s spirit, such public servants are indeed a great celebration to the respective agencies they serve.

Yet perceiving the law’s spirit is a near defunct exercise in this country as creativity is an essential pre -requisite for such perception. Touching the law’s spirit warrants intellectual expansion and vibrancy and is hard to come by in modern times where technological prowess has subverted all else. That dimension and the greater possibility of seeing things through the inner self cannot be achieved with high brow technological gymnastics. Instead, the chances of human beings becoming robots is far greater as what is compulsive replaces consciousness.


At a seminar held at the Foundation Institute long years back, this writer absorbed one of the finest pronouncements coming off India’s legal celebrity, Chief   Justice  Baghwati . “More importantly the ability to see the law’s spirit than the law perse goes a long way in dispensing justice,” he said. The Indian courts, very rich in perceiving this culture of justice in prioritizing the law’s spirit ahead of all else has done very well indeed in the Asian region. The same could be said of Pakistani courts where even corrupt governments are dumped for the sake of preserving democracy and the public good. People’s sovereignty is persistently underscored.


That the Indian and Pakistan courts function as ought to be expected by a dignified and elegant legal system is commendable. Functioning very independently devoid of political interference, their role as caretakers of the public interest is a shining example to the countries in Asia particularly Sri Lanka where judicial independence has been found wanting. Judges in the calibre of Neville Samarakoon can stand on par with justice Bhagvati in the conduct of judicial dignity. Samarakoon even refused to see JR at his behest and asked the one time president to come over to see him if he wished to. In doing so he enunciated the Buddhist principle of equality before the law.


To HQI Gunawardena the difficulty of reaching out to Baghwati ‘s insistence on creativity is not a Herculean task. The policy he adopts of Buddhism as inspiration and creative force in bringing redress to the numerous complaints that come before him is remarkable. “If we are good practicing Buddhists we can administer through the logic that Buddhism affords us and not resort to irrational negatively emotional decision making into what is sinful. Be it politics, business, in office, on the street, in the bus or whatever ,dasarajadharmaya  can  be a  wonderful hands on mechanism  to solve people’s problems. It is my personal experience that this has brought me total happiness.” Years of laborious litigation ,the financial strain incurred by both sides not to forget the unaccounted loss of energy in trekking to courts and back, Gunawardene neatly aligns with the Buddha words that has brought immense popularity in the stations he has served.


No wonder then that it has taken only just one man of his ilk, Karu Jayasuriya to recognize Gunawardene ‘s unimpeachable integrity.  No other cared to call understandably so for their keen interest is as always confined only to corruption and personal gain. Sri Lanka needs just a few more ‘ Gunawardenes ‘    in the country’s legislature to bring in the grandeur that once was in that institution. Will history repeat? This time it's not time that will tell but only the upcoming elections would.

To those that forsake integrity for popularity in selecting presidential candidates while shelving the importance of integrity at grassroots and otherwise, Sri Lanka, needless to speak has very little or no hope.

(The writer could be contacted at the following email : afreehajawad17@gmail.com)
 

  Comments - 1

  • Dhammika Wednesday, 16 October 2019 12:10 PM

    In a country that has the death penalty there is no dhamma, only revenge towards the transgressors of fascist moral majority... In a country where so-called Buddhists deliberately ignore Buddha's call to transcend identity and instead cling to calling themselves Sinhalese, Sri Lankans etc, there is no hope for true dhamma to flourish. No chance. (p.s. This post is not for the retarded or philosophically ignorant).

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