CC to deliberate on new Chief Justice next week | Sunday Observer

CC to deliberate on new Chief Justice next week

21 April, 2019

With two major appointments set for deliberation by the Constitutional Council at the end of this month, former Opposition Leader and Tamil National Alliance Chief R. Sampanthan is still waiting for his letter of appointment to the 10-member parliamentary council that decides on key appointments to the judiciary, public service and independent commissions.

The Council will meet on April 30 to consider nominations forwarded by President Maithripala Sirisena for the all-important posts of Chief Justice and Auditor General.

Chief Justice Nalin Perera is set to retire on April 28, with his ceremonial final sitting already concluded ahead of courts closing for the vacation on April 5.

Supreme Court Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, PC, Sisira J de Abrew and Priyantha Jayawardena, PC are next in line in the order of seniority. However, speculation is rife that Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya’s name may also be sent to the CC for nomination as head of the judiciary.

Senior Presidential Advisor Shiral Lakthilake told the Sunday Observer that no names for both positions have been sent to the CC so far. “The names will be sent to the Council by next Friday, the latest,” Lakthilake said.

But, the Constitutional Council is still one member short after the resignation of Chamal Rajapaksa, to make way for TNA Leader Sampanthan, whose appointment was finally agreed to by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, after weeks of disagreement. Rajapaksa initially wanted EPDP Leader Douglas Devananda, who is the single representative of his Party in Parliament, instead of the TNA Chief who leads the second largest opposition bloc in the House to take a seat on the crucial Council.

Authoritative sources told the Sunday Observer that the letter nominating Sampanthan had already been sent to the President for appointment and the CC expected the veteran Tamil parliamentarian to join the deliberations on April 30.

However, TNA sources confirmed that the party leader was yet to receive the letter appointing him as a member of the CC.

According to the provisions of the Constitution once the President is informed of such nomination he should make the appointment. However, it further provides that in the event the President fails to make such appointment within 14 days “the person nominated shall be deemed to have been appointed as a member of the Council with effect from the date of expiry of such period.”