The government yesterday claimed that the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, presented to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, had been necessitated by the judiciary’s attempt to disregard the supremacy of Parliament.
The seven charges said to constitute “improper behaviour”, pertained to the Chief Justice’s conduct both in her official and personal capacity, it said.
Media Minster Keheliya Rambukwella, addressing a news conference in Colombo yesterday, which was also attended by Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Deputy Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna and Parliamentarians Arundika
Fernando, Shantha Bandara and Sudharshani Fernandopulle, said that of late the judiciary had been infringing on the supremacy of parliament, which even prompted the Speaker to make a critical statement on the floor of the House.
Neither the President nor the government wanted to clash with the judiciary since it was imperative that a cordial relationship exist between the three institutions. However, with the legislature’s authority being openly challenged, there was no option but to go the whole hog and present an impeachment motion against Shirani Bandaranayake, Minister Rambukwella said.
Claiming that there was nothing personal in presenting motion, the Minister said that there were two previous such instances on the watch of President J. R. Jayawardena and Chandrika Kuamratunga.
Rambukwella said that if an institution exceeded its powers, then the government was perfectly entitled to act according to the law.
The course of action adopted by the Rajapaksa regime, he said was perfectly legal and there was neither malice nor will it do anything improper as the procedures prescribed by the Constitution had been followed, with more than the required one third of 225 MPs having endorsed the motion.
Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said that the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice, which contained seven charges, including actions committed in her personal capacity, had been signed by 117 UPFA MPs and presented to the Speaker yesterday in terms of Article 107.2 of the Constitution,
The Speaker would, she said, be required to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee, comprising members of all parties, or call for a debate on the motion, if he was satisfied that that a prima facie case had been established.
The law stipulated that the Chief Justice could be summoned to be personally present to hear the charges that had been levelled against her, the Minister observed.
by Zacki Jabbar