The Chairman of Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) Wijedasa Rajapakse and three others filed a petition in the Supreme Court today citing that the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranaike had violated their fundamental rights.
The petitioners cited that the impeachment was unconstitutional and the attempt to impeach the Chief Justice may have an impact on the judiciary decisions on the government and on the entire judiciary system as well.
The Speaker of the parliament, the eleven representatives of the parliamentary select committee (PSC) and the Attorney General are the respondents of the petition.
The petitioners also cite that a bias occurs in the parliamentary select committee process that probes the 14 counts of charges against the Chief Justice.
The 11-member parliamentary select committee headed by Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa comprises 7 government members and 4 opposition members.
Sri Lanka Supreme Court last Thursday requested the PSC to suspend its proceedings until the petitions filed against the PSC are heard. However, the PSC held its first session on Friday as scheduled Dr. Bandaranayake appeared before PSC with her legal counsels.
The PSC has asked her to submit additional materials on her answers to the 14 charges brought against her through the impeachment motion before the next session scheduled for 4th December.
The charges against Dr. Bandaranayake include among others, not declaring over 20 bank accounts in declaration of assets and liabilities, not declaring Rs 34 million foreign currency deposits, conduct unbecoming of a Chief Justice, misuse of power, and taking over cases, which involves her, from other benches.
The Bar Council of Sri Lanka, the policy making body of the country’s lawyers and is made up of 78 representatives from Colombo and branch organizations, also adopted a resolution Saturday to call on the PSC to postpone sittings by two months.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission head and lawyer Dr. Prathibha Mahanamahewa has said that it is unconstitutional to take different actions at a time when the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice is before a parliamentary select committee.
Only judiciary actions or actions in complying with the Constitution should be taken in this connection and holding demonstrations and protest marches are illegal, he has pointed out.