Public Service

Oct 06, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has suspended a controversial new rule that gave the President powers to extend the terms of chosen public officers, but did not reverse any extension already granted, lawyers said. Those designated as public officers were “distinct and separate from political entities, judicial officers,” the plaint said.

The government had informed court that the controversial gazette, which contained the new rule, would be withdrawn and a new one issued, but court had suspended the gazette.

Media reports over the weekend said Attorney General C R de Silva, one of the officers whose terms of service was to have been extended by the new rule, had decided to retire and move into private practice.

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) went to court against the new power for the executive to extend the services of chosen public officers arbitrarily outside the mechanisms already provided by the constitution.

The CPA told court that there was a “grave need to free the public service of politicization” and check the tendency of politicians to interfere with the public service.

CPA said “accountability and responsibility” among public officers were being eroded in “an alarmin