Lanka govt to go ahead with impeachment of woman CJ: Media

Last Updated: Sunday, January 6, 2013 - 20:14

Colombo: The Sri Lankan government will go ahead with the impeachment of the country`s first woman Chief Justice despite mounting global pressure to avoid a clash with the judiciary, a pro-government paper said Sunday.
"The drama over the ongoing attempt to impeach Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake is expected to end later this week with Parliament debating and voting on the report of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) which found her guilty of three of the five charges examined," a well informed source was quoted by the Sunday Island as saying.
"It will be all over by January 11," the source told the paper.

"The writing is on the wall. Once Parliament votes on the resolution and an address is made to the President, she will be removed from office the next day", the pro-government newspaper said.

The paper said that there will be no change of stance by the government despite mounting pressure both locally and externally to defuse the situation by taking a step back.

This is inspite of the Supreme Court`s constitutional interpretation that the select committee which probed and found Banadaranayake guilty was illegal.

This interpretation makes clear that the route of determining misbehaviour through the Parliamentary Select Committee process is not lawful.

The paper said that questions were also being asked on whether the 54-year-old Chief Justice will submit herself to a dismissal in the light of court rulings on the matter.

If the president goes ahead and appoints a new Chief Justice then we will be in a situation where the country has two chief justices, an analyst said.

The independent Sunday Times said, "though the Supreme Court is acknowledged as the sole authority to interpret the constitution, how the legislature will officially react to the determination will be known by Tuesday".

Sunday Times said that behind the scenes work to have the motion debated in parliament on January 10 and 11 are underway.

"The speaker would thereafter advise President Rajapaksa of the wish of majority of members in the House to have chief justice Bandaranayake removed," it said.

The parliamentary committee on December 8, 2012, ruled that Bandaranayake was guilty of three of the 14 charges in the impeachment proceedings against her moved by the ruling UPFA coalition legislators.

The three charges were financial impropriety based on non declaration of assets and conflict of interest in a case involving a failed investment company.

The chief justice denied all the charges against her. On December 6, she stormed out of the impeachment hearing in parliament, saying she will not be given a fair trial.

She also claimed verbal abuse by the government members of the parliamentary committee.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, January 6, 2013 - 20:13

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