IGP service extension: GL wants CC to intervene for permanent appointment
Posted on July 10th, 2023

Courtesy The Morning

Claims repeated extension tantamount to improper use of Exec. powers 

Claiming that the continuous extension of the service of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana D. Wickramaratne, who was scheduled to retire in March 2023, amounts to an improper use of Executive power in a way that is harmful to the public, Opposition Parliamentarian Prof. G.L. Peiris said. He further reiterated that the Constitutional Council (CC) should make a direct intervention to make a permanent appointment for the post of the IGP.

Wickramaratne, whose initial service extension expired on 26 June, was granted another three-month service extension by President Ranil Wickremesinghe on 9 July.

Speaking at a media briefing yesterday (10), Prof. Peiris said that at a time when crimes including shootings, the use of drugs among school children, and incidents of child abuse are on the rise, an honest, efficient and strong police service is needed at present more than ever. “The Police Department is a prestigious institution with a history of decades. It needs strong leadership, an IGP. But, what is the situation in our country today in that regard? The retired IGP is continuously being granted service extensions.” Recalling the granting of the initial service extension to Wickramaratne in March 2023, he queried as to whether there was no serving police officer who qualifies to be the IGP. “As if there was no one else in the Police to serve as the IGP, the retired IGP was granted a service extension which makes him similar to an Acting IGP. That extension expired on 26 June, and the Police did not have any leadership for two weeks from then. As a result of a meeting between Wickremesinghe and Public Security Minister Tiran Alles, he (Wickramaratne) was granted another service extension for three months. What a distortion this is?” Speaking further, Prof. Peiris said that a temporarily appointed IGP is not at all sufficient to ensure law and order, and that a permanent appointment is vital. “This kind of an IGP does not have the strength and power, but a person with a permanent appointment has the courage to take decisions and implement them. This situation is the result of a fierce tug of war in the Government. Everyone wants to give high positions to their close friends. This is a battle between individuals and camps, but who will pay for this in the end? It will be the innocent people whose lives will be at risk. Therefore, we request the Government to forget, even temporarily, the petty disputes and individual ambitions, and appoint someone as the IGP permanently, to save the people’s lives.”

He also said that the CC has a great responsibility regarding the matter. “It is true that this is a temporary appointment, but everyone should note that this is a temporary appointment that is being made continuously. This is an improper use of Executive power in a way that is harmful to the public. A responsibility lies with the CC to directly intervene and make a decision on the matter. If they do not do so, the people will no longer trust them (CC) either.”

Wickramaratne was appointed as the Acting IGP in April 2019, and was confirmed in the position on 25 November 2020. He was scheduled to retire in March 2023, and was granted a three-month service extension by the President, which ended on 26 June. The Police Department functioned without the presence of an IGP for about two weeks, until Wickramaratne was again granted another three-month service extension by President Wickremesinghe on 9 July.  

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