Civil society representatives P’ment approves nominees to CC

Published : 9:07 am  October 12, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana   

Appointments to the Constitutional Council (CC) were completed yesterday with the Parliament approving three persons who were nominated as civil society representatives to the council. 


The civil society members appointed as per the 19th Amendment to the Constitution are Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala, Ahmad Yusuf and Naganathan Selvakumaran. The other members are Speaker Karu Jayasuriya (Chairman), Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and opposition leader R. Sampanthan as ex officio members, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe (nominee of President Maithripala Sirisena), Minister Thalatha Athukorala and MP Chamal Rajapaksa (nominees of the Prime Minister and the opposition leader) and MP Bimal Ratnayake (nominee of minority parties in the opposition).   

According to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, the first act of the new council members will be to approve the appointment of the new Chief Justice. This will be carried out today.  “Appointment letters to new members will be given immediately and they will meet today to finalise the appointment of the new Chief Justice,” the Speaker said. 

The House was engaged in a heated argument last morning when the opposition questioned the procedures adopted to appoint civil society members to the CC. 

“The Speaker himself has summoned the police commission on its behaviour. Therefore, we would like to question the members appointed to independent commissions and others who are appointed to top posts including the IGP, ”  JO Parliamentary Group Leader Dinesh Gunawardene said. 

JO MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara questioned as to whether there were stipulated criteria the Constitutional Council and the independent commission needed to follow. 

Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake queried as to what steps the council would take against IGP Pujith Jayasundara whose behaviour was in question. 

Meanwhile, House Leader Lakshman Kiriella responded saying the opposition had forgotten how appointments were made during the last regime. “This government had made the Constitutional Council fully independent,” he said. 
Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said it was essential to introduce a criterion that should be followed by the Constitutional Council and the independent commission.