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President’s Secretary responded to a letter from the BASL

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Media Release

President’s Secretary Mr. Saman Ekanayake responded to a letter from the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) regarding the appointment of the new Attorney General following the retirement of Mr. Sanjay Rajaratnam, PC.

Mr. Ekanayake highlighted that the President is constitutionally empowered, under Article 41C of the Constitution, to appoint the Attorney General with the approval of the Constitutional Council. He emphasized that there is no constitutional requirement to appoint the senior-most officer from the Attorney General’s Department to this position based on seniority. Historically, this practice has not been followed in Sri Lanka, with past appointments such as Hon. Sarath N. Silva, PC, and Hon. Mohan Peiris, PC, coming from outside the department’s senior ranks.

Additionally, Mr. Ekanayake pointed out the example from 2016 when President Maithripala Sirisena recommended multiple candidates, leading to the Constitutional Council approving Mr. Jayantha Jayasuriya, PC, as Attorney General.

Mr. Ekanayake advised the BASL not to advocate for the claims of a single candidate among other qualified individuals, underscoring the need for a broad consideration of all potential candidates to ensure the appointee commands the confidence of the President and the Cabinet.

Earlier, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) had sent a letter to President Ranil Wickremesinghe, urging the appointment of the senior-most officer in the Attorney General’s Department to fill the vacancy left by Mr. Rajaratnam. The BASL emphasized that this practice honours the principle of seniority, ensures continuity and stability, and respects the established hierarchy within the department.

Signed by BASL Secretary Chathura A. Galhena, the letter stressed the Attorney General’s critical role in upholding the rule of law and ensuring proper administration of justice, and urged the President to consider their concerns favourably

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