( January 13, 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Mahinda Rajapaksa has signed the removal notice of the Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, ratifying parliament’s vote to impeach her, the Presidential Spokesman said.
The letter removing Shirani Bandaranayake from the office of chief justice was signed by the President this morning and hand-delivered to her official residence, Mohan Samaranayake said.
Parliament on Friday passed an impeachment motion against the Chief Justice with a two thirds majority. The motion to remove the country’s top judge was based on the findings of the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed by the Speaker of Parliament last month to probe the charges against her.
The resolution calling the President to remove the country’s first woman Chief Justice was passed with 155 votes in favour and 49 against it.
The government has drawn international criticism over the impeaching of the chief justice, with the US, UK and Commonwealth expressing deep concern while organizations such as the ICJ have condemned the move.
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has publically vowed that it will not welcome a new Chief Justice and the Lawyers Collective has called on the Supreme Court and the superior judiciary to not recognize the newly appointed Chief Justice.
Last month, a parliamentary committee ruled that Bandaranayake was guilty of possession of unexplained wealth and misuse of power and declared her unfit for office.
Bandaranayake has denied the allegations and accuses the government of denying her a fair trial.
The Supreme Court on January 01 had interpreted the constitution holding that a Select Committee does not have the power to arrive at a finding against a Judge of a Superior Court, while the Court of Appeal on January 03 exercising writ jurisdiction quashed the decision of the PSC.
However, the parliament had decided to go forth with the debate on the impeachment motion.