What it takes to be a law-abiding citizen
Law and order are integral to a productive and functional society. The law serves as a code of conduct, and provides the framework and standards for societal behaviour. Therefore, it is vital that laws are just and fair, designed for the good of society and applied equitably following due process.
Unjust and unsound laws, as well as poor enforcement, lead to discrimination and discord – and affects trust, thereby eroding both compliance and respect for the law. Even good laws can be abused and applied with prejudice in the interests of power and control. This in turn leads to mistrust and a breakdown in law and order, and creates a dysfunctional society.
Therefore, developing effective collaboration between lawmakers, regulators, enforcers and citizens is essential.
Leaders must act as role models by adhering to the law and ensuring that it is impartially applied. Influencers in government, business, sports, the arts and academia often prove to be examples, both good and bad.
Those that act above the law erode trust while people who act within the law exemplify its discharge for the greater good.
A law-abiding culture and fair play prevail where laws are just, and applied equitably and impartially.
It is also when those who govern and the governed transcend the letter of the law, and embrace its spirit as well, that law and order will reside in the hearts and minds of people – indeed, a noble goal for Sri Lanka to aspire to as it embarks on resetting its social, political and economic agendas.
Leaders must act as role models by adhering to the law and ensuring that it is impartially applied