The Tamil National Alliance today came out all guns blazing against the Northern Province’s Military Governor G.A. Chandrasiri in Parliament, saying that while he may have expertise in extra-judicial killings, he was certainly no expert on constitutional affairs.
The onslaught by TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran came after Chandrasiri accused the TNA run Northern Provincial Council of violating the constitution for attempting to set up departments of transport and housing, in the lead story of the Daily News yesterday.
“The Governor, being a military man is an expert in some areas. Under his command there were several extra judicial killings – he may be an expert on that. But he must know to leave matters constitutional to the constitutional experts. And not go around making pronouncements like this and making himself a fool,” Sumanthiran told Parliament in a hard hitting speech earlier today.
Sumanthiran said that under the constitution, the subjects of provincial and inter provincial transport and housing services were subjects listed under the provincial councils. Quoting from the relevant sections, Sumanthiran said the NPC was well within its rights to set up the departments.
“How dare the Governor say that creating departments for these two services is a violation of the constitution?” Sumanthiran charged.
“This is the reason why we want the Governor removed. You must have a civilian who will have some respect for the law. Who will at least read and understand the constitution,” the TNA MP told the House.
Quoting from Article 154 A constitution, Sumanthiran said that intentional violation of the constitution was one of the reasons why the Provincial Council may pass a resolution calling for the removal of the Governor, if he has intentionally violated the constitution. “I hope the NPC will take the necessary steps in this regard,” he said.
According to Sumanthiran, it was the Central Government and its agents, like the Governor of the Northern Province who were violating the constitution. The Government had appointed a new DIG for the North without consulting Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, even though the constitution clearly stipulates that Provincial DIGs should be appointed by the IGP with the concurrence of the Chief Minister, Sumanthiran said. He added that according to the constitution the Chief Secretary to the Province must also be appointed by the President with the concurrence of the Chief Minister. The current Chief Secretary appointed before the NPC was constituted remains in office despite several letters in this regard from the Cheif Minister to the Presdient they have gone unanswered, Sumanthiran explained.
“Who is violating the constitution? You make a Chief Secretary appointment and you don’t change the appointment when there is a new Chief Minister. The law requires that the Chief Minister’s concurrence must be obtained. You don’t do that. You appoint a DIG now, a few days ago when the Constitution says you have to obtain the concurrence of the Chief Minister,” Sumanthiran charged.
“And you have the gall, you have the brass to accuse the NPC of violating the constitution because they want to appoint departments for transport and housing. As I read out to you both transport and housing are in the pC list. So why can’t they appoint departments?” he said.