Lankan President to act soon on top judge impeachment
Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa may announce his decision on exercising constitutional prerogative to ratify the impeachment of the country's first woman Chief Justice within "two to three days", even as the step drew flak from the US and the UK.
The President's decision may come within the "next two to three days", Rajapaksa's spokesman Mohan Samaranayake said.
Rajapaksa has to ratify the impeachment of Shirani Bandaranayake following yesterday's approval by parliament of the proceedings with an overwhelming vote.
It is widely expected that Rajapaksa would remove the 54-year-old woman judge by Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the lawyers' body, the Bar Association, at its council meeting held this morning resolved to make representations to Rajapaksa to urge him to defer the decision against Bandaranayake.
The report on the parliamentary select committee which impeached Bandaranayake was voted 155 for and 49 voting against in the Parliament yesterday.
The impeachment also came in for strong condemnation by both the US and British governments, with London saying that the impeachment ran contrary to the clear rulings of the country's highest court.
The US said it remains deeply concerned by the impeachment proceedings which were conducted in defiance of a Supreme Court order.
"This impeachment is in defiance of a Supreme Court order. This impeachment calls into question issues about the separation of powers in Sri Lanka and the impact of its absence on democratic institutions," a US statement said.
Similarly a British government statement said that its government was deeply moved by the process.
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.