The Executive Committee of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) passed a resolution on Friday evening urging the authorities immediately stop harassing and humiliating Chief Justice 43 Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake. A BASL spokesperson said the BASL Executive Committee (Ex-co) deplored that Dr. Bandaranayake has been subjected to what it regarded as an “absolute unnecessary harassment and humiliation.”
The Ex-co noted that Dr. Bandaranayake had visited the Bribery Commission as requested by the Commission on April 2, in spite of the original date of May 17 given by the Commission when she appeared before it on April 1.
“ Chief Justice 43 appeared at the said Commission at the stipulated time, with her attorneys-at-law. She had been kept waiting for over half an hour and then told that no officer was present to record her statement and turned her away, directing her to return to the Commission,” on May 17, the resolution noted.
Meanwhile, lawyers close to Dr. Bandaranayake said that when Dr. Bandaranayke visited the Commission at 9 am on Friday, not a single responsible officer let alone the Commissioners or the Director General were present at the Bribery Commission. Those present were unaware of any letter sent by the Commission asking Dr. Bandaranayake to visit the Commission on May 10. They kept her and the lawyers waiting around 35 minutes before her statement of objections was accepted by two members of the Commission. Although she was prepared to make further orals submissions they were not prepared to record it, the sources said.
The media reported that in a letter written to the Director General of the Bribery Commission Dr. Bandaranayake pointed out that the Chairman of the Bribery Commission has violated the law of confidentiality by giving various statements to the press regarding the Immigration and Emigration Department ban on her visiting foreign countries.
She wrote that there were no such preparations to go abroad and noted that last time she went abroad was in 2006. In her objections, she said that neither the Chairman nor a member of the Commissioner should participate in any inquiry against her. She also reiterated that she had duly declared all her bank accounts and assets, which forms the basis of the allegations against her.
She alleged that the Bribery Commission chairman made various false statements to the media in connection with the inquiry and has failed to “maintain the necessary standard of impartiality and independence required by the Chairman,” of the Bribery Commission.
She pointed out that the chairman was biased against due to his relationship with a former Chief Justice.
Dr. Bandaranayake also pointed out that the other member of the Commission should not participate in her inquiry since she presided over a Supreme Court Bench that dismissed a fundamental rights application filed by the particular member.
This made his spouse to actively campaign supporting her impeachment, Dr. Bandaranayake noted, adding that the particular spouse appeared on certain Government controlled television criticising her.
Matara Bar to cold shoulder CJ 44
The Matara Bar has resolved it would not welcome Chief Justice 44 Mohan Peiris who is due to visit Matara on May 17.
The majority decision was taken at a meeting of the Bar Council of the Matara Bar, a council member said.
The decision was not because of any personal animosity towards Mr. Peiris but was in accordance with a resolution passed by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka on December 15, 2012, he added. Earlier, on two occasions the Bar Councils of Anuradhapura and Kandy decided not to welcome Chief Justice 44 when he visited Anuradhapura and Kandy, the Sunday Times learns.
At a special general meeting held on December 15 the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) passed a resolution that if Chief Justice 43 Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake would be removed without giving an opportunity to have a fair trial in terms of the rules of natural justice, the BASL would not welcome the newly appointed Chief Justice 44.
By Wasantha Ramanayake/ST