Parliamentary Council holds inaugural meeting

Thursday, 5 November 2020 02:44 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • Names of new SC appointees to be taken up for consideration on 10 Nov.
  • PC has powers only to make observations, but President has free hand on appointments

By Chandani Kirinde

The inaugural meeting of the Parliamentary Council (PC) established under the 20th Amendment was held yesterday but did not take up the names of the nominees submitted to the Council by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for consideration.

Instead the Council discussed the framework within which it will operate under the 20th Amendment to the Constitution and decided to meet again on 10 November to formally commence its work.

The Daily FT learns that the President has submitted several names to be considered by the PC for appointment to the SC.

By a last-minute amendment moved to the 20th Amendment to the Constitution Bill which was passed in Parliament last month, the Government increased the number of judges in the Supreme Court from 11 to 16 and the Court of Appeal (CA) from 11 to 19.

Justice Minister Ali Sabry said the reason for increasing the numbers in the two superior courts is to expedite the hearing of cases and/or clear the backlog.

The Parliamentary Council which replaced the Constitutional Council (CC) which was set up under the 19th Amendment to the Constitution only has powers to make its observations on the nominees sent by the President. It has a week to communicate its observations, failing which the President can go ahead and confirm the appointment.

The five-member PC is headed by the Speaker and has as its two ex-officio members the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. Its two other members are Minister Douglas Devananda who is the PM’s nominee and SJB MP Kabir Hashim who is the Opposition Leader’s nominee.

All members attended the inaugural meeting yesterday while Parliament Secretary General Dhammika Dasanayake and Deputy Secretary General and Chief of Staff Neil Iddawala were also present at the meeting.