By Ranjith Padmasiri
Attorney General Dappula de Livera has raised objections over ignoring senior members of his department for vacancies in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal which are to be expanded in terms of the 20th Amendment.
The move came as President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who is now empowered to make appointments to the Superior Courts after the 20th Amendment was approved, sent in names of six Court of Appeal judges to the newly established Parliamentary Council to be considered to the vacancies in the Supreme Court where the bench is to be expanded from 11 to 17.
President Rajapaksa’s nominees are Court of Appeal President Justice A.M.D. Nawaz and Justices Kumudini Wickremesinghe, Shiran Gunaratne, Achala Wengappuli, Mahinda Samayawardana and Janak de Silva.
The inaugural meeting of the new Parliamentary Council was held on Thursday, but its observations on the nominees to the Supreme Court have been delayed until next Tuesday. The Parliamentary Council replaces the earlier wide-powered Constitutional Council.
The Sunday Times learns that the Attorney General had made his objections to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, in the premier’s capacity as the government’s highest representative in the Parliamentary Council. The AG has said none of the AG’s Department’ senior members with considerable years of service had been considered for the vacancies on the SC.
The AG had nominated four Additional Solicitors General to be considered for the vacancies. They are Sarath Jayamanne, Indika Devamuni, Farzana Jameel and Priyantha Nawana.
The AG is learnt to have pointed out that some of his officers were more senior than those nominated and therefore they too should be considered.
The Prime Minister had clarified matters from one of his senior advisors, Lalith Weeratunga, and told the AG he was unaware of the situation and would look into the matter.
Meanwhile, in view of the the expansion of the Court of Appeal bench from 12 to 20 , the President’s Office has called for details relating to 15 High Court judges to be considered for the positions.
These High Court judges are Menaka Wijesundara, D.N. Samarakoon, M. Prasanna Silva, M.J.M. Lafar, C.P. Keerthisinha, Sampath Abeykoon, Sampath Wijeratne, Vikum Kaluaarachchi, Udaya Karalliyadda, M.A.R. Marikkar, R. Gurusinha, T. Sashi Mahendran, Champa Janaki Rajaratna, Gihan Kulatunga and Dhammika Ganepola.
The Attorney General has also recommended the following departmental officers for the CA vacancies. They are Senior Deputy Solicitors General Viveka Siriwardhana and Anusha Fernando Samaranayake and Deputy Solicitors General Vikum de Abrew, Mayadunne Corea and V. Kumaran Ratnam.