Police Chief’s service extension ends on 26 June
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Public Security Minister Tiran Alles yesterday (16) said that a decision hadn’t been made yet regarding the appointment of a new Inspector General of Police.Incumbent IGP C.D. Wickramaratne, on 26 March, 2023, received a threemonth extension of service. The Constitutional Council approved a recommendation made by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in that regard.
The Constitutional Council announced its decision following a meeting on 01 April, under the chairmanship of its Chairman, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena. The other CC members are Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, MP Sagara Kariyawasam, MP Kabir Hashim, MP Dr. Pratap Ramanujam, Dr. Dilkushi Anula Wijesundara and Dr. Dinesha Samararatne.
DIG Wickramaratne received the appointment as Acting IGP in the wake of the Yahapalana government sending the then IGP Pujith Jayasundera on compulsory leave over the intelligence failure to thwart the April 2019 Easter Sunday carnage. The Constitutional Council, on 13 May, 2019, approved Wickramaratne’s appointment.
The three senior most officers, now serving the Police Department, are Senior DIG (Administration) Nilantha Jayawardena, Senior DIG (Central Province) L.S. Pathinayake and Senior DIG (Western Province) Deshabandu Tennakoon. The No. 02 in the Police Department always holds the post of SDIG Administration.
The other senior DIGs, according to the seniority list, are W.L.A.S. Priyantha (SDIG/Crimes and Traffic), P.P.S.M. Dharmaratne (SDIG/Sabaragamuwa) who acts as SDIG/Uva, S.C. Medawatte (SDIG/South), W.K. Jayalath (SDIG/North Western), R.L. Kodituwakku (SDIG/Support Services), M.D.R.S. Daminda (SDIG/North Central) who also acts as SDIG East, K.A. Rohana (SDIG/Police Headquarters), L.K.W.K.
Silva (SDIG/Medical Services, Welfare and Field Force Headquarters) and K.P.M. Gunaratne (SDIG/North).Of the three senior most officers, two, namely Nilantha Jayawardena and Deshabandu Tennakoon, have been named by the five-member Presidential Commission of Inquiry (P CoI) that investigated the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks. P CoI, in their final report to the Attorney General to consider criminal proceedings under any suitable provision in the Penal Code against SDIG Jayawardena, who had served as Director State Intelligence Service (SIS) at the time of the Easter bombings.
P CoI has recommended a disciplinary inquiry against SDIG Tennakoon. Tennakoon is also in the centre of legal actions and counter actions pertaining to the 09 May, 2022, violence and related incidents in the run-up to the then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ouster, two months later.
The Bar Association, in a letter addressed to President Ranil Wickremesinghe, dated 17 March, 2022, requested that an officer facing fundamental rights or criminal cases or allegations of unlawful activity not be appointed as Wickramaratne’s successor.
Urging the urgent need to take tangible measures to restore public confidence in the police, the Bar Association has said: “The Sri Lanka Police has had a practice that the promotions of police officers who are named as suspects or accused in criminal matters or are respondents in Fundamental Rights applications, such as those relating to illegal arrests and torture, are withheld during the pendency of such applications. Similarly, promotions of officers who have a blemished record in the Sri Lanka Police are regularly withheld. The BASL is of the view that the same or higher standards must be adopted by the Executive in appointing the Inspector General of Police.
The BASL added that prior to the approval of the appointment of the IGP that the procedures to be followed in regard to recommendations or approvals for appointments under Article 41B or 41C should be determined by the Constitutional Council as provided for in Article 41E(6) of the Constitution. “The BASL is of the view that such procedures and processes should be in the form of rules relating to the performance and discharge of the duties and functions of the Council as provided for in Article 41G (3) of the Constitution.
The BASL urged that the appointment of the IGP (and all other appointments to key offices) be done in a transparent manner so as to establish public confidence in the appointment