|Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake. (File photo: The Hindu)|
CJ lawyers go public with defence
Lawyers of Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, Attorney-at-Law Saliya Peiris and Sugath Caldera, went public with a detailed defense to the allegations made against her stating that every “dollar and cent” earned by the Chief Justice had been accounted for, as required by the law.
Attorney-at-Law Saliya Peiris and Sugath Caldera in a detailed explanation to the public for the first time since the charges were brought against the Chief Justice said that all allegations against her were unfounded and subsequently distorted.
Saliya Peiris said that none of the charges amount to “proven misbehavior or incapacity” as required for the removal of a Supreme Court judge by the Constitution.
“The fact that since a charge of bribery has been brought against her spouse does not in anyway fall within the ambit of proven misbehavior. If that is so any person could bring in any charge against a spouse and child of a judge compelling them to relinquish office. This is dangerous and the judiciary really isn’t safe,” he said.
Referring to the rest of the charges both Caldera and Peiris said that every asset and liability has been accounted for and declared as required by law and any insinuation to say otherwise is a complete distortion of fact.
The lawyers made these remarks at a media briefing held at the Organisation of Professionals Associations yesterday.
“The buying of the house at Trillium residencies has been a main issue. The house was bought on behalf of her only sibling and every remittance from the Commonwealth Bank to NDB has been accounted for by way of the advice slip. Every remittance had very clearly indicated the purpose of remittance as being the buying of a house,” the lawyers said. (Hafeel Farisz)
FUTA backs CJ
The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA), while challenging the impeachment motion against Chief Justice, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, pledged to fight for the independence of the Judiciary.
Addressing a media briefing yesterday, FUTA President Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said the Judiciary is facing a crisis situation. He said the Bench and the Bar failed to safeguard constitutional principles in the recent past.
“This is not a question about Parliament being supreme, or the Judiciary being supreme. It’s about how the Judiciary is being made a puppet by certain factions, and the government’s attitude towards it. We doubt the majority of the public knows what happened. It’s our duty to create awareness among the public, especially when we know power is being misused by a powerful ruling family,” Dr. Devasiri said.
The government’s absolute disregard and disrespect for the rule of law, the recent attacks by unknown people on members of the legal fraternity, who opposed the impeachment, and the adverse campaign carried out against the Chief Justice by the State media were unacceptable in a civilized society, he said.
FUTA Media Spokesperson, Dr. Mahim Mendis in his briefing declared FUTA was prepared to mobilize public support to stand up and protest against corruption and anarchy in the country.
By Aisha Nazim
Top chamber urges Rajapakse to intervene in judiciary-legislature dispute .
The Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Industries of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) on Wednesday urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to intervene in the dispute between the legislature and the judiciary over the impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake.
“We are a country that went through the darkest ever period for the last three decades and presently settling down to enjoy the peace dividends. It is extremely important to understand the gravity of the crisis in all aspects and we urge, his Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa to resolve the issue for the sake of the country. We are confident that His Excellency will take the most appropriate decision at this very crucial juncture, like in the past, as His Excellency’s very words of ‘Country comes first’,” it said in a statement.
The umbrella chamber said Sri Lanka is facing a grave constitutional and a legal crisis with the foundations of democracy at stake. The people are sovereign and supreme according to the constitution. The People’s executive power is exercised by democratically elected executive President, their judicial power is exercised by Courts of law and legislative power is exercised by the Parliament, it said.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the impeachment process against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake was unconstitutional and subsequently the court of Appeal quashed the report and the findings of the Parliamentary Select Committee.
FCCISL said that “looking through the magnifying glass on the future economic and business environment, in the case of deepening the issue, has serious concerns on the negative impact of the final outcome.”