Sri Lankan chief justice impeachment illegal

- Supreme Court

COLOMBO, (Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court said yesterday parliament does not have the legal authority to investigate accusations of misconduct against senior judges and an impeachment proceeding against the chief justice was against the law.

The government and Supreme Court have been at loggerheads since President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s ruling party filed an impeachment motion against Shirani Bandaranayake, Sri Lanka’s first female head of the Supreme Court, on Nov. 6.

The government complained that she had been overstepping her authority but Bandaranayake’s supporters complained of political interference in the judiciary. The case has raised international concern about the independence of the judiciary.

A parliamentary impeachment committee last month found Bandaranayake guilty on counts of financial irregularities, conflict of interest and failure to declare her assets.

But the Supreme Court said investigations into any misbehaviour by senior judges including the chief justice should be conducted by a judicial body.

“Therefore, in our opinion, it is mandatory for parliament to provide by law the body competent to conduct the investigation,” the court said in a 27-page ruling, which was read out in a lower court.

Government Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwelle declined to comment on the ruling saying the speaker of parliament would decide on the latest move by the judiciary.

Parliament had scheduled to debate the impeachment on Bandaranayake next week, before a vote which the government, with a majority in the assembly, would be bound to win.

The Supreme Court’s ruling backs up a decision by an appeal court’s which last month blocked parliament from voting to impeach Bandaranayake, the country’s first woman chief justice.

The United States, the United Nations and the Commonwealth have raised concerns about the impeachment and called on Rajapaksa to ensure the independence of the judiciary.

The parliamentary panel which found Bandaranayake guilty was appointed by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, the elder brother of the president.

The accusations against Bandaranayake arose after she ruled against a bill, submitted by the president’s younger brother, Basil Rajapaksa, proposing an 80-billion rupee ($614 million) development budget which she said had to be approved by nine provincial councils.

Latest in World News

Jeremy Corbyn

EU vote triggers open conflict in Britain’s main parties

LONDON,  (Reuters) – Britain’s two main parties were in open conflict on Sunday after a vote to leave the EU triggered an attempted “coup” in the main opposition Labour Party and a bitter leadership contest in the ruling Conservatives.

default placeholder

Merkel sees no need to rush Britain into quick EU divorce

LONDON/BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel sought yesterday to temper pressure from Paris, Brussels and her own government to force Britain into negotiating a quick divorce from the EU, despite warnings that hesitation will let populism take hold.

default placeholder

UK’s Johnson wins backing from Gove for prime ministerial bid

LONDON (Reuters) – Boris Johnson, one of the leaders of the successful “Leave” campaign in Britain’s European Union membership referendum, has won the backing of a key colleague to replace David Cameron as prime minister, a newspaper reported.

A model presents a bulletproof clothing by the Miguel Caballero Factory at the Chico Museum in Bogota, Colombia, June 24, 2016. (Reuters/John Vizcaino)

Colombian designer makes fashion business bulletproof

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Miguel Caballero’s designs are not just chic, they could save your life. But his creations come at a price.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks after Britain voted to leave the European Union, outside Number 10 Downing Street in London, Britain June 24, 2016. Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

Cameron quits after Britain votes to leave EU

LONDON,  (Reuters) – Britain has voted to leave the European Union, forcing the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and dealing the biggest blow since World War Two to the European project of forging greater unity.

default placeholder

South African court blocks appeal by Zuma over corruption charges

PRETORIA,  (Reuters) – South African President Jacob Zuma failed yesterday in his appeal against a court ruling that corruption charges against him be reinstated, another setback for the leader who has been facing calls for his resignation.

default placeholder

Britain votes to leave EU in historic divorce – BBC

LONDON, (Reuters) – Britain has voted to leave the European Union, the BBC said based on voter tallies from yesterday’s referendum, an outcome that would set the country on an uncertain path and deal the largest setback to European efforts to forge greater unity since World War Two.

Cuba's President Raul Castro (C) looks as Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos (L) shakes hands with FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londono, better known by his nom de guerre Timochenko, after signing a historic ceasefire deal between the Colombian government and FARC rebels in Havana, Cuba, June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

Tears of joy as rebels sign ceasefire with Colombian government

HAVANA/BOGOTA,  (Reuters) – Colombia’s government and leftist FARC rebels signed a historic ceasefire deal yesterday that brought them tantalizingly close to ending the longest running conflict in the Americas.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: