The nomination of persons to the Constitutional Council (CC) is likely to be finalised by Wednesday (10th), Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said yesterday. The Speaker said that the remaining vacancies would be filled soon after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe returns to the country after his official visit to the United Kingdom. He added that this is likely to happen on October 10 or soon afterwards.
The Speaker will send the names of the new CC members to the President for appointment as soon as he receives the final nominations. The Speaker is yet to receive the list of nominations for the five members to be nominated by the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader and the nominee from the other political parties.
President Maithripala Sirisena nominated Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe as the President’s representative to the CC last month. The Speaker holds the Chairmanship of the Constitutional Council while the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader are ex-officio members.
Another five members are appointed by the President, on the nomination submitted by both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. From these five members, three should be civil society representatives. One other person is appointed by the Members of Parliament from a political party other than the parties to which the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition belong.
When, inquired about possible nominees to the CC the Speaker said he was not in a position to discuss any names but added he would send the nominations to the President as soon as they are finalised.
However, the ‘Daily News’ learns that the three civil society representatives are likely to be Senior Lecturer in Law at University of Colombo Attorney-at-Law N.Selvakumaran (Dean of Faculty at Law 2000 – 2012), Educator and Diplomat Javed Yusuf and Diplomat Jayantha Dhanapala who was Sri Lanka’s official candidate for the post of UN Secretary-General, before withdrawing from the race on September 29,2006.
However, there is opposition to the nomination of Dhanapala from some sections, the ‘Daily News’ learns.
Although CPA Executive Director Dr.Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu was to be nominated as a civil society representative, the Joint Opposition is opposing the move, it is learnt.
Meanwhile, Justice and Prison Reforms Minister Thalatha Athukorale and former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa are likely to be nominated to the CC by the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader.
The 10-member CC is the apex decision making body that recommends the appointments to the Independent Commissions and high ranking positions such as the Attorney General, Auditor General, Parliament Secretary General, IGP, Chief Justice and Supreme Court Judges etc.
It remains defunct since last month following the expiration of the three-year term of six members.
Meanwhile, current Chief Justice Priyasath Dep completes his term on Friday (12). Constitutionally, the President must forward the name of his nominee for Chief Justice to the Constitutional Council which must then approve the nomination.
“If the appointment of the Chief Justice is delayed the President can appoint an acting Chief Justice for a period of 14 days. If the appointment of the CJ gets delayed due to the lack of a quorum in the CC, the most likely person to be appointed as Acting Chief Justice will be Senior Supreme Court Judge, Eva Wanasundera,” government sources said.