Parliament impeaches Chief Justice

Parliament today voted by a majority to impeach Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, with 155 in favour and 49 against it.

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa said that Parliament will now inform President Mahinda Rajapaksa about the vote outcome.

The President will now decide on removing the Chief Justice. Celebrations were held outside Bandaranayake’s house by government supporters following the vote.

The Chief Justice had been found guilty on three of the five charges looked into by the Parliament Select Committee.

Opposition members of the 11 member Parliament Select Committee had withdrawn from the committee saying they had no faith in its outcome.

However the committee went ahead with its proceedings and submitted a report to the Speaker which was debated and a vote taken on Friday if the Chief Justice should be impeached or not.

The country’s apex court had ruled earlier this year that the Parliament Select Committee is unconstitutional.

Bandaranayake, the first woman chief justice, fell out of favor with the government after she ruled against a government sponsored bill.

The United Nations had warned that the impeachment could send a negative signal to the international community about Sri Lanka’s commitment to its human rights obligations.

The Special UN Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, had said that she does not share the Government’s view that the impeachment process is an internal matter.

Report by Easwaran Rutnam