Unprecedented obstruction caused to CC grounds for impeachment of President – Prof. Peiris



By Shamindra Ferdinando

Top Opposition spokesman Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday (11) said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s controversial decision to thwart a move by the Constitutional Council to introduce rules on the discharge of its duties and functions was grounds to bring forth an impeachment motion against him.

Addressing the media at the SLPP rebel group’s office at Nawala, the former External Affairs Minister alleged that President Wickremesinghe had violated the Constitution by preventing the CC from performing its duties and responsibilities.

The former top law academic emphasized that President Wickremesinghe had absolutely no right to interfere in the matter as the CC was not part of the executive at all. The Rules were to be promulgated in line with the provisions of Article 41G (3) of the Constitution.

The SLPP National List MP said that the move seemed to be in line with the President’s overall strategy meant to bring Parliament and CC under his control while neutralizing independent commissions. The CC consists of seven lawmakers and three members of the civil society.

The way UNP leader Wickremesinghe handled the recent appointment of Senior DIG Deshabandu Tennakoon as Acting IGP proved that he had no intention of following the Constitution with regard to the filling of top vacancies, Prof. Peiris said.

The directive issued to the Government Printer Ganga Kalpani Liyanage not to print the gazette on the draft 56-page rules received from the CC undermined the very process the President promised to uphold when Parliament elected him to complete the remainder of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s term.

President Wickremesinghe’s party has just one MP in Parliament, appointed from the National List.

The CC approved the English draft on November 21 and then directed the text be made available to all members of Parliament.

Referring to recent statements issued by the UK’s Minister of State in the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office Anne-Marie Trevelyan, US and EU, Prof. Peiris said that the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa government couldn’t ignore concerns expressed by the international community.

The former internationally distinguished Law Professor said that the incumbent government brazenly violated a pledge that the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) wouldn’t be implemented in its present form given to Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council during his tenure as the External Affairs Minister.

Prof. Peiris pointed out that President Wickremesinghe’s proposal to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee to review CC procedures couldn’t be taken lightly against the backdrop of widening differences between the executive and CC.