Constitutional Council to consider SC nominees tomorrow | Sunday Observer

Constitutional Council to consider SC nominees tomorrow

6 January, 2019

The Constitutional Council (CC) will meet tomorrow holding its first meeting for the year, during which it will consider and recommend the nomination sent by President Maithripala Sirisena for the vacant posts in the Supreme Court, a member of the Council told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

This appointment is for the vacancy that arose with the retirement of former Supreme Court Justice Eva Wanasundara.

Constitutional Council members are irked that despite the Council forwarding nominations to the

Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, the President has still failed to make the appointments.

A member of the Council told the Sunday Observer that this is highly unconstitutional as well as disrespect to the judiciary in the country. “It has passed the mark of 75 days since we have made the recommendation but up to date, there has been no appointment. This is the highest position that a member of the Judiciary can obtain and to prevent them is a very sorry situation,” he said.

He said that the President has no prerogative to refrain from appointing such recommendations once made by the Constitutional Council.

President Maithripala Sirisena sent two fresh names to the CC refraining from appointing two Judges already recommended by the Council. The CC had already approved the names of Justices Gamini Amarasekara and S Thurairajah for the vacant positions who have still not been appointed to the Supreme Court creating confusion.

Due to the non appointment, practical issues of not having sufficient Judges in both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court have arisen.

According to CC sources, they will not reconsider the initial recommendations made to the President.

Such a condition is not presupposed in the Constitution, thus creating a deadlock. The 19th Amendment which envisages appointments to other councils says that by the lapse of two weeks, such recommendations will have been deemed to be made, even in the event the President refuses to make appointments. However, this provision was not introduced to the appointment of Judges to the Supreme Court to maintain the independence of the Judiciary.