President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday appointed Dhammika Kitulgoda as acting Secretary General of Parliament. He is at present the Secretary of the Constitutional Council and will hold both positions simultaneously official sources said.
Kitulgoda was the Secretary General of Parliament till 2002 and had held a number of senior official positions before that.
During the last session of Parliament in March, the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and other opposition groups asked Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake how the appointment of the Secretary General of Parliament could be made, when the present incumbent Priyani Wijesekara retired on March 31, as the Constitutional Council, the appropriate authority to appoint the SG not functioning. They also said they will refuse to accept any persons appointed SG by any authority other than the Constitutional Council as that would be tantamount to an infringement of the privileges of Parliament.
But the President appointed Kitulgoda as acting SG using his powers under the Constitution, the same way he had appointed the Attorney General and Inspector General of Police. The Constitutional Council had ceased to function about three years ago after one member was not nominated by the minor opposition parties in Parliament.
However in the background of the appointment of Kitulgoda as acting SG were the representations made by a majority of employees of Parliament to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and also to Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara in support of Kitulgoda.
One of the main services he had rendered was exercising stringent financial controls over Parliament funds and starting a scholarship scheme for the children of the staff from funds saved by such measures, official sources said.
They said he was responsible for several measures of welfare for the employees during his tenure as SG but he was removed from the position in 2002 by the UNP government to make way for one of their favourites.
Dhammika Kitulgoda is the son of Charles Kitulgoda and Mrs. Samarasinghe Gunasekara Kitulgoda of Matara and had his elementary education at Rahula Vidyalaya Matara and his secondary education at Royal College, Colombo. He entered the Law College in 1971. He became a member of the Judiciary in 1975 being appointed a Magistrate and a District Judge from 1985 and as Secretary General of the Judicial Service Commission from 1998 to 1999.