SL opposition pulls out of top judge probe panel
Colombo: Sri Lankan opposition members on Friday pulled out of an impeachment hearing by a parliamentary panel against the country's first woman Chief Justice, a day after she stormed out of the proceedings citing unfair trial.
Shirani Bandaranayake, 54, would not attend the parliament select committee (PSC) proceedings any more, sources close to her said. They said she and her lawyers protested that they could not expect a fair hearing.
The opposition has decided to stay away as there is no procedure in the PSC, John Amaratunga, a member of the main opposition UNP in the PSC said.
"PSC started by pre judging the CJ as guilty", Vijitha Herath another opposition PSC member told reporters.
The PSC met today despite Bandaranayake's withdrawal citing unfair attitude of the government members towards her.
"It was obvious that a majority of the members of the PSC had no real intention to give the chief justice a fair hearing", a statement from Bandaranayake's lawyers said.
The lady chief justice faced impeachment for her removal from office based on 14 charges of private and professional misconduct as the top judge.
She denied all of the charges and stated she was capable of proving her innocence but the PSC whose majority is from the government was bent on not giving her a fair trial, opposition said.
The opposition boycott of the PSC came after statement from US government as well as the International Committee of Jurists (ICJ).
"We urge that the government of Sri Lanka and the PSC investigating the Chief Justice ensure any investigation be conducted transparently, guarantee due process and is conducted in accordance with the rule of law", the US statement said.
"The ICJ urges the government of Sri Lanka to take immediate steps to uphold the independence of the judiciary and adhere to international standards and practice on the removal of judges", a statement said.