The new constitutional council would meet today to decide on a new Chief justice, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya told Parliament yesterday.
He said so when he submitted the names of ten members of the new council for the approval of Parliament. The House gave its approval for the names proposed for the council.
Party leaders, who met on Wednesday, had given their approval for the names of civil society members, the speaker said.
The Speaker, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition are appointed to the council as ex-officio members. In addition, there are three members appointed as nominees of the President, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
A representative of the minor parties represented in Parliament, too, is appointed as a member of the CC.
In addition to the three ex-officio members Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe as the representative of the President, Minister Thalatha Atukorale as the representative of the Prime Minister and UPFA MP Chamal Rajapaksa as the representative of the Opposition leader have been appointed to the CC. MP Bimal Ratnanayake has been appointed to represent the minor parties. Dr Jayantha Dhanapala, Ahmed Javid Yusuf and Naganathan Selvakkumaran have been appointed as the civil society representatives.
Speaker Jayasuriya said that the letters of appointment had been issued to the new CC members.
MP Dinesh Gunawardena: None of us are aware of the rules of the CC. There are media reports to the effect that people have no trust in the CC. Apart from that there are reports to the effect that the appointments made by the CC so far were wrong. What are the parameters and considerations the CC is going to make use of when it is going to make new appointments?
Leader of the House, Minister Lakshman Kiriella: MP Dinesh Gunawardena raised none of those questions at the party leaders’ meeting. He opposed nothing. During the times of President Mahinda Rajapaksa everything was done according to his whims and fancies. We brought 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Today, we can oppose even to the President’s nomination. We liberated those who were under the jackboot of Mahinda Rajapaksa.
MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara: It was earlier said that Parliament would have powers over the CC. Where is that power now? We should know how the CC functions and what its activities are. We are kept in the dark here.
Minister Ajith P Perera: The CC is responsible to Parliament. There can be slight deviations but we can rectify those aberrations.
Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe: There is no point in appointing retired persons to the CC. They are not responsible to anyone. We should pay more attention to the composition of the CC.
The CC will meet today to decide on the successor to Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, who is to retire today.