Says Bribery Commission has not been abolished in 20A
- The President would not have time to serve the people effectively, as long as the 19A prevails, since the President has to make appearances in courts
By Lahiru Pothmulla
The ‘Immunity of President from suit’ as proposed in the 20th Amendment to the Constitution is not for the President’s benefit but to provide an uninterrupted service to the people, SLPP Chairman and Minister Professor G.L.Peiris said yesterday.
Article 35 (1) of the proposed 20A says, “While any person holds office as President, no proceedings shall be instituted or continued against him in any court or tribunal in respect of anything done or omitted to be done by him either in his official or private capacity.”
Speaking at a news briefing at SLPP Office, Minister Peiris said the President would not have time to serve the people effectively, as long as the 19A prevails, since the President has to make appearances in courts.
He said a considerable time has to be allocated for courts and court related matters if cases were filed against the President.
“I know this personally. Before elected, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was taken to courts, and had to appear in commissions and special courts established out of usual procedure based on revenge. Will he have to do the same when elected President? If that’s the situation, the time allocated to implement the pledges made in ‘Vistas for Prosperity’ will be limited. That’s why the immunity is needed. The Supreme Court has recognised this as reasonable in Mallikarachchi v. Shiva Pasupati. The immunity is not for the President’s use but for the people, to fully execute the duties for the people in a peaceful mind. If the President is being escorted to courts, he or she won’t be able to perform duties in a satisfactory manner. That’s what the SC case says. The immunity has been given in line with that, to work for the people in a honest manner without wasting time at courts,” he said.
Commenting on the Independent Commissions, Minister Peiris said the 20A has assured the durability of seven commissions and rejected the reports that the Bribery Commission has been abolished.
“The Bribery Commission Act of 1994 has not been touched by 20A. However, the procedure of appointing members to the independent commissions has been changed as the Constitutional Council (CC) has been replaced with the Parliamentary Council,” he said.
Minister Peiris said it was mandatory for the President to consult the Parliamentary Council when making appointments. “Unlike the CC, the Parliamentary Council is answerable to the people,’ he said.
SLPP Secretary MP Sagara Kariyawasam and Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardane were also present at the news briefing.
- The Bribery Commission Act of 1994 has not been touched by 20A