For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
Tuesday, 29 June 2010 00:00
Department should be brought under Justice Ministry again
Civic Rights and Social Justice leaders yesterday urged the government to reassure the people of the independent status of the Attorney General and that the AG’s Department be brought back under the Ministry of Justice.
This appeal came amidst growing concern that the recent decision to bring the AG’s Department directly under the President might lead to further politicisation of an institution that plays a vital role in the upholding of democracy and justice. The statement was issued by a group known as the Friday Forum, comprising an informal gathering of public spirited persons including, among others:
Bishop Duleep de Chickera, Jayantha Dhanapala, Prof. Arjuna Aluvihare, Prof. Gananath Obeysekere, Prof. Savithri Goonesekere, Chandra Jayaratne, Shanthi Dias, Dr. Stewart Motha, Dr. Camena Gunaratne and Dr. Deepika Udagama.
In their statement they have expressed grave concern over the current status of the Attorney-General’s Department consequent to the Gazette Extraordinary No. 1651/20 of April 30, 2010 on the allocation of subjects to various ministries.
The group says:
“The Forum observes the department, which has traditionally comes under the Ministry of Justice, finds no mention in the Gazette notification either under that ministry or elsewhere.
The necessary implications under Article 44 (2) of the Constitution is that as an unallocated subject or function the department automatically comes under the purview of the Presiden.