Northern Governor not a constitutional expert: TNA hits back

Saturday, 14 December 2013 00:22 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • TNA MP says Northern Province needs civilian Governor who will read and understand constitution
  • Sumanthiran accuses Central Government of violating constitution by making illegal provincial appointments
By Dharisha Bastians The Tamil National Alliance yesterday hit back hard against the Northern Governor Major General (Rtd) G.A. Chandrasiri, saying he was no expert in constitutional affairs after the senior official accused the new Northern PC of violating the constitution by attempting to set up departments of housing and transport. TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran came out all guns blazing against the Governor, during the budget debate on the Ministry of Transport, quoting from the constitution to prove that the subjects of transport and housing were in fact subjects listed under the provincial councils. “The Governor, being a military man is an expert in some areas. But he must know to leave matters constitutional to the constitutional experts and not go around making pronouncements like this and making himself a fool,” Sumanthiran charged in a fiery speech in the House. Quoting from the relevant sections, Sumanthiran said the NPC was well within its rights to set up the departments. “How dare the Governor say that creating departments for these two services is a violation of the constitution?” the TNA MP queried. Sumanthiran quoted Article 154 A of the constitution to explain that the intentional violation of the constitution was one reason why the Provincial Council could pass a resolution calling for the removal of the Governor. “This is the reason why we want the Governor removed. You must have a civilian who will have some respect for the law. Who will at least read and understand the constitution,” the TNA MP told the House. The TNA legislator claimed that it was the Central Government and its agents, including Governor Chandrasiri who were violating the constitution. He said the Government had appointed a new DIG for the north without consulting Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, even though the constitution clearly stipulates that Provincial DIGs should be appointed by the IGP with the concurrence of the Chief Minister, Sumanthiran said. He added that according to the constitution the Chief Secretary to the Province must also be appointed by the President with the concurrence of the Chief Minister. “The current Chief Secretary appointed before the NPC was constituted remains in office. Several letters from the Chief Minister to the President have gone unanswered,” Sumanthiran said. “Who is violating the constitution? And you have the gall; you have the brass to accuse the NPC of violating the constitution because they want to appoint departments for transport and housing. As I read out to you both transport and housing are in the provincial council list. So why can’t they appoint departments?” the TNA MP charged. The uneasy relationship between the new TNA run provincial administration and the military Governor has worsened, with the provincial bureaucracy following only Governor Chandrasiri’s orders.