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The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) maintained that seniority should be considered in the appointment of the Attorney General unless otherwise there were good reasons to not follow seniority in the hierarchy.

President of the BASL, President’s Counsel Geoffrey Alagaratnam said that it was the advice of the BASL that the said appointment be an internal one from the Official Bar (Attorney General’s Department and the Solicitor General’s Department).

Such has already been intimated by the Unofficial Bar to President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, he added.

“It sets a bad precedent if someone is appointed from outside as there have been, shall we say, not very successful such appointments in the past. The BASL does not encourage persons from outside being appointed to the Attorney General’s position,” he remarked.

Elsewhere, an attorney-at-law who wished to remain anonymous said that the Constitutional Council must in the long term develop a transparent mechanism for the purposes of approving or disapproving of a particular candidate.

“It is the view of the majority of the Private Bar that if the Constitutional Council is to overlook the Solicitor General in not appointing him to the post of the Attorney General, there must be good, justifiable grounds for not doing so. If there are good, justifiable grounds to do so, then such an appointment can be not made. There must be criteria/criterion to decide on the selection, for the Constitutional Council to go one way or another way. This makes sense. There must be guiding principles. Persons against whom there are objections for their appointment must have an opportunity to defend themselves while those who object to a particular candidate being appointed must be given an opportunity to say as to why they object. Right now, the issue is that these things do not take place in the open and thus there is room for political maneuvering,” he explained.