Despite being an avowed champion of the Right to Information, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has, up to now, failed to respond to several questions put to him by Colombo Telegraph in the public interest relating to the transparent and accountable functioning of the Constitutional Council of which he is the Chairman by virtue of office.
1 Would you agree that the process whereby the CC nominates people to the President should be made public and that the public be allowed to have their say?
2 If not, why not?
3 In your opinion, is it not contradictory to refer to the CC as independent when it is primarily a political body in its composition?
4 When the CC nominates members as Chairman of a commission, could you clarify on the process that is followed, for example, how many names does it send to the President (one, two, three, five) and how long does it wait for the President to make the appointment?
5 Public displeasure has been indicated in the recent weeks regarding allegations that a person appointed as Chairman of one Commission was sent a letter of ‘withdrawal’, taking back that appointment and appointing him as member of the Commission while another person was appointed as Chairman. This change was due to the intervention of former President Chandrika Kumaratunga. Are you aware of these reports?
6 In principle, would you not agree that such an interference with the process is unconstitutional and goes against the government’s pledges of good governance?
Despite Colombo Telegraph sending these questions to his email address on record, Speaker Jayasuriya has apparently declined to respond.
This failure raises questions as to the actual commitment of so-called right to information champions who were once in the opposition and are now holding positions of authority. This is even more a question at a time when a Right to Information draft law is due to be tabled before Parliament. Colombo Telegraph calls upon the Speaker to respond to these questions even belatedly.