GL files RTI on legal advice sought about President’s term

Thursday, 30 May 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Makes RTI request from Presidential Secretariat
  • Wants to know if President or anyone on his behalf has sought legal advice from AG Jayasuriya on when term ends

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris has made a Right to Information (RTI) request from the Presidential Secretariat, asking whether President Maithripala Sirisena or anyone else on his behalf has sought legal advice from the Attorney General on extending the President’s term. 

In the letter Prof. Peiris noted that Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekera on 8 April had told media that there was a possibility that a fresh query would be made from the Supreme Court on when the President’s term would end but that this would only be done after the appointed of the new Chief Justice.  Prof. Peiris said in his letter Chief Justice Nalin Perera was due to retire from that office on 28 April. On 26 April, the Constitutional Council approved the recommendation of President Sirisena that the Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya be appointed to the office of Chief Justice. 

“The information I seek is whether, on or about 8 April 2019, or at any time before or after such date, President Sirisena or anyone on his behalf or at his request sought legal advice from Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya, on the matter referred to by Dayasiri Jayasekera. I am not inquiring what advice, if any, was provided, or the content of any communication received from the Attorney General or any officer assisting the Attorney General which, of course, is privileged, but whether advice was sought from the Attorney General’s Department when Jayantha Jayasuriya was serving as Attorney General,” he said in the RTI request. 

The SLPP Chairman also described the information he has sought as “of grave national importance” in view of Jayasekera’s statement that the President would be seeking the opinion of the Supreme Court only after Chief Justice Nalin Perera retired from that office and after the new Chief Justice was appointed.

“The office of President of the Republic, being an office created or established by or under the Constitution, is a ‘public authority’ within the meaning of Section 43 of the Right to Information Act.  Under Section 3 of that Act, as a citizen, I have a right of access to information in the possession, custody or control of a public authority,” he said.