Chairman of Lankan devolution panel quits

Legal expert HL de Silva is succeeded by MDD Peries, a veteran administrator and a non-controversial person, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Aug 22, 2006 18:22 IST

The controversial legal expert, HL de Silva, has quit the post of Chairman of the high level Experts' Committee on devolution of power, appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to solve the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka.

De Silva told Hindustan Times that he quit as Chairman on Monday in view of the fact that he was involved in a litigation, which created a conflict of interest.

He is the chief counsel for a group of Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) leaders who had filed a case in the Supreme Court against the merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces to form a single, Tamil-dominated North Eastern Province.

The merger or de-merger of the North and East is an emotive political and legal issue in Sri Lanka, which impinges on the question of devolving power to the Tamil minority.

De Silva, will however, remain a member of the Experts' Committee.

The new chairman of the Committee is MDD Peries, the veteran administrator and a non-controversial person.

But De Silva's exit has not watered down the strength of the Sinhala nationalists in the committee.

Lawyer Manohara de Silva, associated with the Sinhala-nationalist Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), has been inducted into the committee.

He has migrated from the All Party Representative Committee on devolution, which President Rajapaksa had set up to go into the political dimensions of devolution.

First Published: Aug 22, 2006 15:18 IST