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Saman Ratnapriya

The National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) demanded that President Maithripala Sirisena rectify an error on his part made by the submission as nominations for the post of the Attorney General three names to the Constitutional Council, a move which they deemed unconstitutional.

Previously, Sirisena had submitted three names (Solicitor General and Acting Attorney General President’s Counsel Suhada Gamlath, Senior Additional Solicitor General President’s Counsel Jayantha Jayasuriya and Senior Additional Solicitor General President’s Counsel Kapila Waidyaratne) for the possible appointment for the post of the Attorney General. The Constitutional Council had met on February 08 to discuss the nominees.

Member of the General Committee of the NMSJ, Saman Ratnapriya said that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution which contained a legal process with regards to the making of the appointment of the Attorney General outlined that the President was the sole appointing authority when it came to such matters, while also acknowledging that the President had to seek the approval of the Constitutional Council.

When three names of potentials are submitted to the Constitutional Council, the Constitutional Council has to in turn possess the power to make a selection, a power which is not afforded to the Constitutional Council through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, he added.

An individual who possesses experience and seniority, is skilled and suitable, should be the one who is appointed to the position of the Attorney General, he observed.

“This is wrong. It is illegal. Sirisena should submit only one name, after which the Constitutional Council based on their judging criteria can state whether they concur with the said nomination or not. The Constitutional Council is not the appointing authority. All they can do is state whether they agree with the selection or not,” he remarked.