The Parliamentary Council which met on Wednesday has approved the names proposed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the seven-member National Police Commission. The reactivation of the National Police Commission was one of the recommendations by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).
President’s Counsel and former High Commissioner to Australia, Senaka Walgampaya has been appointed Chairman of the Commission. The other nominees approved by the Parliamentary Council are Ven. Elle Gunawansa Thera, D. Dissanayake, Mrs. Charmaine Madurasinghe, R. Sivaraman, M.M.M. Mowjood and the former Chairman of ITN Newton Gooneratne.
Senior Minister for Human Resources D.E.W. Gunasekara commenting on the reactivation of the Police Commission said that it was the correct step taken in the right direction. “The reactivation of the Police Commission is important at this point as relations between the police and the people are severely strained.
The Police Commission has a big responsibility to create an environment for the police to act independently and make the Police Department an active independent body”, the Minister said. “The Police Commission should also realise that though they are appointed by the Government they are responsible to the people of this country and not the Government. This is the basic fact they need to keep in mind when carrying out their duties as members of the Independent Commission”, he said.
The National Police Commission was set up in 2002 under the 17th Amendment to the Constitution. It became defunct due to the failure to appoint new Commission members after the terms of the Commission and its Chairman lapsed in April 2009. Transfers, discipline, and issues related to examinations, in the police force come under the purview of the National Police Commission. The Commission has complete power to act independently.