Constitutional Council to call for fresh nominees | Sunday Observer

Constitutional Council to call for fresh nominees

The Constitutional Council (CC) is expected to call for fresh nominees for seven reserved slots as the stipulated term of office of the current members will expire shortly. The CC was set up under the 19th Amendment to the Constitution to depoliticise the public service and ensure good governance in the country within the democratic framework.

The CC comprises ten members with the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader and the Speaker being ex-officio members while the other seven members are nominated for a period of three years. Among the seven others currently holding the office of CC are Ministers Patali Champika Ranawaka and Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, JVP MP Vijitha Herath, UPFA MP W.D.J. Seneviratne and three civil society members, Dr.A.T. Ariyaratne, Dr.Radhika Coomaraswamy and former Attorney General Shibly Aziz,PC. According to the

Constitution, these seven members cannot be re-nominated at the expiry of their tenure.

Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe has already been appointed as the President’s representative to the Constitutional Council (CC) by President Maithripala Sirisena. He replaced Minister Champika Ranawaka whose term had expired.

The Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition will shortly appoint their two representatives to the CC.

JVP MP Vijitha Herath who is also a member of the CC told the Sunday Observer that the nine independent Commissions set up under the CC are a novel experiment to the country. They are still in their formative stage.

At present the Human Rights Commission, Audit Service Commission, Election Commission, Bribery Commission and Delimitation Commission are performing their duties independently without bias and will reach maturity with the passage of time. Even though the Audit Service Commission was set up earlier, only after the recent Act of Parliament it has been empowered. Certainly in time to come, these independent Commissions will produce better results in the public interest.

The composition of these nine Commissions is: Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (5 members), Delimitation Commission (3 members), National Procurement Commission (5 members), Public Service Commission (9 members), National Police Commission (7 members), Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption (4 members), Election Commission (3members), Finance Commission (5 members) and Audit Service Commission (5 members).

The CC is a 10-member constitutional authority tasked with maintaining independent commissions and monitoring their affairs. The CC is aimed at depoliticising the public service. Under the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, CC is responsible body for appointing members to the nine independent Commissions.

However, it has laid down that no person shall be appointed by the President as the Chairman or a member of any of the Commissions except on a recommendation by the CC. All the Commissions other than the Election Commission shall be responsible and answerable to Parliament.

According to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, five persons appointed by the President on the nomination of both the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition of whom two persons should be Members of Parliament and three of them should be from the civil society.

One Member of Parliament is also nominated by agreement of the majority of the Members of Parliament belonging to political parties or independent groups.

A senior Parliamentary official told the Sunday Observer that the terms of seven members of the CC will expire this month.

Thereafter, the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and other parties concerned will have to get together and nominate their member. In respect of three civil society members, in addition to the consent of other Party Leaders being obtained by the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, their names have to be approved by the House. 

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