governments trying to be charitable to their political stooges
from the Police Department who helped them when they were in the
opposition, another set of police officers gained, not only
financially, but with re-employment with promotions to the very
top.Some were out of the police service, serving the private
sector in cushy jobs, drawing fantastic salaries for some time,
but ended up as Inspectors General of Police (IGP). In other
words, due to political connections civilians were appointed to
the highest position in the police.
case in the police has to be considered in the light of certain
legal connotations in the Police Ordinance, if one wishes to
understand the effect of irregular action related to the
appointment of an IGP. For instance,
Section 55 of the Police Ordinance (Chapter 65) states thus:
"The Inspector General of Police may from time to time,
subject always to the approbation of the said minister, frame
orders and regulations for the observance of the police officers
who shall be placed under his control as aforesaid, and also for
the general government of such persons, as to their residence,
classification, rank and particular services, as well as their
distribution and inspection, and all such orders and regulations
relative to the said police force as he may deem expedient for
preventing neglect or abuse, and for rendering such force
efficient to the discharge of its duties...
any officer neglects or violates any such order he could be
punished for non adherence. Therefore, in a service where the
principle of comply and complain is respected, the powers so given
to the IGP should be managed by a policeman and not a civilian.
Note the words "shall be placed under his control" where
there is no option given for non-compliance.
this preamble we may proceed to observe what has been happening in
the last few years, as far as the IGPs are concerned. A thesis
will be required if the whole police service is to be considered.
of the above mentioned political appointees, the late Lucky
Kodituwakku was in office when the United National Front (UNF)
was seriously ill before long and was in hospital most of the
time. The most senior DIG was H. M. G. B. Kotakadeniya, but the
President decided on DIG T. E. Anandarajah to act in the absence
representations made by Kotakadeniya on this anomalous situation
before the appointment fell on deaf ears and ultimately
Kotakadeniya chucked up the police service, a frustrated and angry
man. He ended up with the Sihala Urumaya, on the unannounced
understanding that he was discriminated because Anandarajah was a
Tamil. There may have been other reasons for Anandarajah's
selection.However, it is difficult for the affected to narrow down
was appointed to the post of IGP on the approval of the
Constitutional Council, which was established under
provision of the 17th Amendment.
According to the l7th Amendment, Section 41 C states, (1) "No
person shall be appointed by the President to any of the offices
specified in the schedule to this article, unless such appointment
has been approved by the council upon a recommendation made to the
council by the President."
President on September 25, 2002 nominated Anandarajah to be
considered by the Constitutional Council for approval to be
appointed, as the IGP. The Constitutional Council approved the
recommendation of the President on October 1, 2002 and Anandarajah
was appointed as IGP to succeed Kodithuwakku.
had to leave the police service and the position of IGP due to an
allegation that he participated in a birthday party of a drug
dealer's child.There was a lot of pressure brought in by political
and civic organisations for his removal.
ongoing battle for the post of IGP commenced with the decision of
Anandarajah to leave the IGP's position. There were four
Senior DIGs (S/DIGs) out of whom T. Indra de Silva was one.
October 13, 2003 the President again violating the criteria of
seniority and shattering the legitimate expectations of the S/DIGs,
nominated Indra de Silva for consideration by the Constitutional
Council for approval under the 17th Amendment to the post of
IGP.He was number three according to the seniority list. However,
this placement in the seniority list was questioned by Indra de
Silva. The Constitutional Council on October 14, 2003 requested
the National Police Commission
(NPC) to determine the seniority of the four S/DIGs and to convey
its decision to the Constitutional Council.
argument that was adduced during this interim period was that all
four S/DIGs were appointed to this rank on the same day.
Therefore, seniority was not considered a matter that should be
seriously thought of. This argument is considered as totally
incorrect by other S/DIGs. It is a fact that all S/DIGs were
appointed on the same day to the rank of S/DIG, but it was only a
tentative arrangement until a final determination is made by the
NPC. The NPC, having gone into the subject matter thoroughly,
submitted its decision to the Constitutional Council on October
the matter was under consideration, the President appointed de
Silva as acting IGP. The President without adhering to the
provisions of the 17th Amendment, arbitrarily and thereby in an
unjustified manner extended his period as acting IGP till December
gave rise to much speculation. It was considered an act of
favouritism, as this could make the IGP an obliging and slavish
party and would support the President's political wishes in a
NPC submitted its decision to the Constitutional Council
indicating the seniority as follows: 1. Chandra Fernando, 2.
Gamini Randeni, 3.Indra de Silva, 4. Jayatissa Herath.
Constitutional Council without approving the name of Indra de
Silva, which was submitted by the President, or considering the
most senior out of the four, submitted the report of the NPC to
the President. The President without even querying the report of
the NPC recommended Indra de Silva again to the Constitutional
Council for approval for appointment.
Constitutional Council on December 18, 2003 accepted the
nomination made by the President and approved the name of Indra de
Silva to avoid a conflict. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe too
may have considered this as an opportunity to show his respect for
cohabitation and said nothing. The President on this approval
appointed Indra de Silva as the IGP with effect from October 14,
2003, on which date Anandarajah retired from service. The new IGP
was expected to retire when de Silva reaches 60 years of age.
had been the practice in the Police Department with two exceptions
to appoint the most senior DIG to the post of IGP. The only two
occasions that deviated from this policy within the last 25 years
were when Ananda Seneviratne was appointed over Rudra Rajasingham
in 1979 and when the late Kodituwakku was appointed over four of
Indra de Silva's appointment was a violation of the fundamental
rights guaranteed under Article 12(1) of the constitution
by the Head of the State, this appointment was not contested in
the Supreme Court because there are legal constraints in suing the
President on one hand and as all S/DIGs could aspire to be the IGP
before they retire by appointing the IGP from among the four S/DIGs
on an age criteria.As de Silva was to retire on February 18, 2004
the S/DIGs consoled themselves with the fact that it was only for
a short period that de Silva could remain as IGP.
S/DIGs did not know that they were being taken for a ride. By the
time de Silva settled in his seat there were many manipulations
that were taking place at President's House.The President was
planning to oust the democratically elected UNF government, which
had an assured majority with 129 members of parliament supporting
the Prime Minister. She was planning to take over selected
ministries under her control. She was concentrating on her
strategies to finalise the alliance with the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). In that background she wanted an IGP who
would act irrespective of law to crush any attempts by the UNF to
sabotage her plans.
the IGP made some silly moves which made it obvious that he had
come in to the IGP's
room not to leave soon as wished for by the three S/DIGs.De Silva
approached Public Administration Minister Vajira Abeywardene under
whose charge the government bungalows are kept and discussed
changing his residence. He inquired whether it was possible for
him to change his residence to an equally or better bungalow
presently allocated to another VIP.
Silva meanwhile began meticulously executing the plans that were
hatched at President's House by visiting the ranges to meet all
officers.This is said to be the first time an IGP has done so.
Wherever he went he stressed the fact that he will be making
promotions that have been withheld for some time irrespective of
the fact that some have to be done by the NPC.He was trying to
impress on the lower ranks his intention to support them.
top it all he issued a circular giving the number of vacancies
that will be filled by the promotions in due course. He was
successful in this attempt, which is proved by the public
appreciation of the IGP made by the Police Inspectors Association
after being thrilled and excited of the grand opportunities
offered by the new IGP.
IGP was not only doing a public relations exercise in popularising
the President as the authority to give promotions and to expect
benefits through her, but he also started making representations
to the NPC for transfer of officers perhaps on the requirement of
the President and her political cohorts.He sent a representation
to the NPC which happens to be an undated letter, numbered staff
of the requests are reasonable such as the transfer of Wegodapola,
most probably a relation of the President, to be her Director
transfers requested have their own reasons, some known and some
unknown. The transfers he wanted to execute were as follows. SSP
Meegoda to be transferred from Police Kennel Division to
parliament;SSP Lucky Gopallawa from the Kennels Division to Nuwara Eliya; SSP
Peiris from Gampaha to Transport Division in the Police Head
Quarters; SSP S. M. Wickramasinghe to Gampaha from the Transport
Division; SSP Wilfred Mahanayake from Disciplinary Section to
Kegalle; SSP H. P. Wickramasinghe from Terrorist Investigating
Division; L. A. S. Lekamge from Planning and Research Division to
Terrorist Investigation Division; and SSP Nanayakkara to oversee
the Planning and Research Division in addition to his present
of the requests made by the IGP were not allowed by the NPC. In
the case of a transfer made suddenly to Jaffna (SSP C. N.
Karunaratne) the IGP has stated that the transfer should be
cancelled due to representations
made by certain public representatives.
with the NPC standing firm, it was reported in the media that the
President had summoned the IGP and the NPC Chairman to discuss
police transfers. In fairness to the NPC it must be stated that
the NPC has declined to approve some of the transfers requested by
the IGP. This is another instance where the IGP could have
explained the situation to the President, if she was willing to
give a hearing.
other than the S/DIGs and a few who knew the team that was
involved in political manipulations and parochialism expected the
IGP to retire from service, when he reached retirement age. This
was in keeping with Section 17 of the Pensions Minute which is
17 states "Every public servant may be required to retire
from the public service on or after attaining the age of 55
years.Retirement shall be compulsory for every public servant
other than a judge of the Supreme Court on his attaining the age
of 60 years, unless the competent authority decides that his
services shall be retained."
the competent authority is interpreted as "the authority
competent to make appointments." Of course, the
competent authority to appoint or extend the services of the IGP
is twofold.The paper has to be signed by the President and the
approval to do so is given by the Constitutional Council having
studied the nomination made by the President. Division of labour
principle is applicable in this matter.
this background of the stipulations of the Pensions Minute the IGP
had to retire at the age of 60 and he had no option to remain in
office as he becomes a civilian when he reaches the age of 60.In
fairness to de Silva it must be stated that he has communicated
his desire to retire, keeping to his principles and showing
respect to the existing rules and regulations.
President's Secretary too has followed up this issue with the
appointing authority and informed the IGP that his retirement had
been approved. This intimation was made by his letter
CPA/6/CF:189(Vol II) dated 28-01-2004. He was to retire with
effect from 16-02-2004. This was good news and was considered by
the S/DIGs as a reasonable response from the President. It looked
as if she had started adhering to the rule of
law.However, this expectation of the S/DIGs was shortlived.
department even prepared to organise the ceremonial salute for de
Silva's departure. It was only then the officers found that the
IGP has come to stay and not to depart so soon. The DIG in charge
of this act happens to be one in Balapatabendi and Chandrananda's
clannish mafia, namely Punya de Silva.When the ceremonial salute
was informally discussed with him it is learnt that he has
sarcastically phoo-phooed the suggestion and said that it would be
held when required, giving the impression that this was not the
appropriate time for it and he was aware of what was happening
behind the backs of all concerned.Even the IGP had the same
response conveyed only with a sarcastic smile from the corner of
his mouth. If these are true one could understand the reality of
the President accepted the retirement of the IGP, the news soon
spread that she was trying to get the same IGP to continue in
office instead of one of the S/DIGs being appointed. She submitted
a recommendation to the Constitutional Council to re-appoint him
for a further period of six months. The question that is being
raised now is why the President made a recommendation to
re-appoint the IGP when she had accepted the retirement and wished
him good health and happiness in retirement.
gives rise to a suspicion that the President had a separate
agenda, which was put into practice, step by step. By this time
parliament had been dissolved and police action important to look
after her candidates and supporters and to harass opponents. The
political agenda of
the President took precedence over the constitutional requirement
of obtaining the approval of the Constitutional Council.The
respect for the Pensions Minute was lost. The consideration that
should be given to senior police officers for motivation was wiped
the Police Department watched the unfolding saga, there was no
mention of an application for another new appointment. The
Ministry Secretary was unaware of what was happening.When
inquiries were made from the Ministry inquirers were told that
they were in the dark. May be it was so. Or it may be he was
washing his hands off the situation. The fact of the matter is
that M. N. Junaid did not protest any of these manipulations.
President having accepted the retirement of the IGP and confirming
it in writing through her secretary yet made a recommendation to
the Constitutional Council to re-appoint de Silva for a further
period of six months
stating that the appointment was made due to the prevailing
situation in the country.
de Silva has been the IGP for a very long
period then his experience would have been indispensable.
His S/DIGs are equally capable and experienced.De Silva is not an
expert in elections. De Silva had only a short period in office
and he cannot be regarded as an indispensable asset who should be
kept back in service even after passing the retirement age of 60.
Constitutional Council on February 1, 2004 discussed the
recommendation submitted by the President and refused approval, as
there is no constitutional provision to re-appoint the IGP. It is
a known fact that under the 17th Amendment to the Constitution
there is no provision to re-appoint the IGP after reaching
the President may argue that she is the competent authority to
appoint or extend such appointments it could be only done subject
to the Constitutional Council approval.She does not possess total
power in this regard, but has shared power with the Constitutional
Council. The fact that she at first sought the approval of the
council to appoint de Silva to act in the post of IGP proves that
she cannot behave arbitrarily, as there is an accepted process in
on the contrary, the President whilst withdrawing the letter
accepting his retirement, arbitrarily extended the term of the IGP
for a further period of six months.
interference is not a new phenomenon in Sri Lanka, especially
where the police force is concerned. Political interference in
promotions, transfers and in other areas of police work have been
reported in the print and electronic media as a matter of routine.
However, extending the period of the present IGP by violating the
constitution is a matter that
has to be considered seriously.