More than a month after President Maithripala Sirisena sacked the general secretaries of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and Susil Premajayanth respectively, no action has been taken with respect to issuance of charges and inquiry into the same as per usual practice.
The two were sacked unceremoniously on the 14th of August 2015. The President, who is also the Leader of the SLFP, simultaneously appointed Duminda Dissanayake and Prof Wiswa Warnapala to the posts thus made vacant. Dissanayake and Warnapala immediately obtained an interim injunction from the Colombo District Court to stop their predecessors from obstructing them.
The move was seen as an attempt to stymie the UPFA’s election campaign which was being led by Sirisena’s arch rival and former President, Mahinda Rajapaksa. Premajayanth and Yapa were subsequently inducted into the new cabinet following elections and a pact between the SLFP and the United National Party (UNP).
On August 28, the petition filed by Dissanayake and Warnapala were dismissed after the plaintiffs informed court that their work as General Secretaries of the SLFP and UPFA respectively were not obstructed.
Regardless of agreements that may have been reached by the above parties, with or without the mediation of Sirisena, the scant regard for established procedure is reprehensible, a long time advocate of due process in all matters pertaining to disciplinary action as well as judicial processes, one of the Kurunegala SLFP members Chanaka Herath told Colombo Telegraph.
‘If people can be removed from office on the whims and fancies of an individual without formal charges being issued and without an inquiry to follow suspension, it sets a dangerous precedent,’ he said. He added that agreements reached, whether amicably or under duress, does not automatically remove the requirement that proper procedures should be followed.
‘The membership of the party need to know the reasons why Yapa and Premajayanth were suspended in the first place and secondly the circumstances under which these two outcastes were considered suitable for cabinet posts,’ he said.