For former cabinet Ministers the greatest equaliser to ensure they feel like the people who voted them into position, has to be when they are remanded by a Court of law to be held behind bars in a remand cell whilst the Police (famously) conduct their inquiries. Even the potential for being remanded sends equalising forces throughout their bodies that they rush to the Court system in an attempt to prevent their even temporary detention.

Patali Champika Ranawaka was the first to feel the change in government. He was arrested and produced before a Magistrate and remanded overnight. The following morning he was produced before a Court and was further remanded till Monday the 24th.

His supporters gathered, TV crews got extra work as did the scribes from everywhere. The former Cabinet Minister who was unable to be vociferous and stand up for the people in the face of what he called departures from the rules especially when he held the Ministerial portfolio of Power & Energy under President Mahinda, burst out of his shell and spoke vociferously about the Police arriving at his residence. The former Minister claimed – rightly so as it turned out – that the Police who turned up to arrest him at his residence had acted ultra vires. They had failed to notify the Speaker that a member of parliament would be arrested. Speaker KAru Jayasuriya confirmed that he had not been informed by the Police. Given the circumstances of the case and given the Attorney General’s opinion on the matter, this point on law may well be the only saving grace for the former Minister. The matter of a road traffic accident and the events that followed thereafter are now before a Magistrate who will hear the matter on the 24th of December.

Yet another former Minister the very vocal and seemingly ever-smiling Dentist, Rajitha Senaratne also had reason to believe that he too would be arrested over what he said or allegedly said at a press briefing. He of course activated his legal counsel and made a pitch for anticipatory bail. The shock of being initially refused his application must have been rather on the high side.

Not many hours later the former cabinet spokesperson now a mere Member of a prorogued parliament, launched yet another appeal for anticipatory bail, this time being more specific about the charges that he may well be facing soon. As we went to press, there was no word from the Court.

The Court system was almost awash with applications of departure from due process: counsel appearing for Shani Abeysekera filed a Fundamental Rights application seeking their client’s reinstatement as the Director of the CID.

Most welcomed the application of the law in terms of the high-profile cases like the Patali matter.

However there was some thought and speculation as to whether the new government was indicating a return to political revenge-seeking. This notion was fuelled by the inaction on a matter that is specifically mentioned in the Rajapaksa Presidential manifesto: the bond scam issue.

More than a month into the Presidency, there appears to be no more action on the bond matter. President Gotabya has so far not said a word about the release of the so-called ‘missing’ pages withheld by his predecessor. All 106 pages of that Commission’s report. The public at large have a right to know what exactly is so contentious in those pages that has led to the 106 pages being kept from the public gaze.

It is patently obvious that Arjuna Mahendran’s return to Sri Lanka is as far as the moon is from Hultsdorf. In such cases surely the new President ought to be better advised to instruct that a case against Mahendran be immediately instituted at a Trial At Bar.

It will augur well for accountability if this matter goes ahead without the Mahendran statement or his presence. In the event that a court finds against him, the government must identify Mahendran’s assets worldwide and apply for sequestration against all such assets with a firm view of disposing them for the greater good of the people of Sri Lanka.

The appointment of Gamini Abeyratne as the Coordinating Secretary to the Prime Minister’s personal staff may well be a sign of the predicament facing the Prime Minister.

The conundrum is that whilst the President has insisted on professionals be appointed to the boards of state institutions there appears to be little leeway for pragmatism.

Mahinda Rajapaksa is ever the strategist and will wish to consolidate his popularity not just with the wider public but also with key strategic persons who have played valuable roles in ensuring the victory of the SLPP. Gamini Abeyratne is for all intents and purposes likened to what social media would describe as ‘influencers’. Apart from that Abeyratne has served in several positions that lends him an advantage or better described as ‘on the job expertise’.

There are others who point out that the rule is the rule is the rule. However politics is also about being pragmatic and that pragmatism dictates that there must be options available to rely on more than theoretical blueprints. There is a saying attributed to Buddhism that goes, “One bad chapter doesn’t mean your story is over”.

The leadership battle at the UNP has gained with the return to the hustings of Sajith Premadasa. Mr Premadasa appeared to take some time off soon after the results of the Presidential poll was announced. This frustrated and demoralised several key influencers at the party with some suggesting that Premadasa by that action lacked the strength to be a leader.