With mouniting criticism from both the opposition and civil society alike, one of the members of the three-member Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) appointed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa recently to deal with charges of political victimisation by those in the previous regime has resigned.
Judge of the Court of Appeal Rathnapriya Gurusinghe has tendered his resignation to the President, and he was replaced by Court of Appeal Judge R.M. Sobhitha Rajakaruna
Its other two members are Supreme Court Judges Dhammika Priyantha Jayawardena (Chairman) and Justice Kumudini Wickremasinghe.
The Commission was appointed last month by the President to implement the decisions and recommendations of the final report of a preceding Commission that investigated instances of political victimisation against public officers, employees of public corporations, members of the armed forces and the Police under the previous administration.
Several top Opposition politicians have been named as respondents in the report of the Commission of Inquiry (COI), which was headed by retired Judge of the Supreme Court Upali Abeyratne.
The Abeyratne report concluded that the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID), the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) of the Police were established contrary to the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure under the previous administration and were politically motivated and contrary to the provisions in the Constitution.
The new Commission has been appointed under the Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry Act No.7 of 1978 National State Assembly, as amended by Act No.4 of 1978 of Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry Act (Special Provisions), which gives it judicial power, including imposition of civil disabilities on those found guilty by it.
The appointment of the Special Presidential Commission has been condemned by both Opposition politicians and members of civil society.