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Tuesday, 29 January 2013

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President clarifies post-impeachment – ‘Peiris did not endorse everything as advisor’

Former A.G Mohan Peiris was the best person to be appointed Chief Justice, ‘Otherwise I would not have appointed him,’’ said President Mahinda Rajapaksa speaking to the heads of national media last night at Temple Trees.

“There may have been others as well, but he was certainly among the best for the appointment,’’ he said.

The fact that Peiris was an advisor to the Cabinet once, is no bar to such an appointment, he said.

He recalled that former Chief Justice Neville Samarakoon was a very upright CJ, but he had been the personal lawyer for former president J. R. Jayewardene.

As for the new Chief Justice Mohan Peiris being a former cabinet advisor, the president said that as advisor he advised the cabinet --- but that role was not one of endorsing everything that the government did.

“When we did wrong, he pointed out what was wrong, and when we did right he said it was right – that’s what is meant by advice, it does not mean being a ‘yes man’ of government by any means.’’

He said in all the impeachment was good for the country, though those nations that have always had an agenda against Sri Lanka will try to use it against us. Asked about Supreme Court judgments on the impeachment, he said if you take the rules of court, they are not in the constitution – likewise this was a different matter, as their judgments impinged on matters constitutionally within the purview of Parliament.

Asked about the high-level US delegation that is in the country, he said that ‘People come and go’ and that “no doubt they may work to agenda – they don’t come to say hi hello and go.’’

That theirs is a routine visit and they are working to a pre-planned agenda are both views that are probably right, the President said, laughing.

 

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