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* Sri Lanka opposition members of PSC to safeguard the honor and independence of the judiciary
Wed, Dec 5, 2012, 08:35 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 05, Colombo: The members of Sri Lanka's main opposition United national Party (UNP) in the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) probing the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake said they will be impartial in the hearing to safeguard the honor and the independence of the judiciary.

Addressing the media today UNP parliamentarian John Amaratunga said the opposition members are neither on the government side nor on the side of the Chief Justice but engaged in the hearing in an impartial manner that safeguards the honor and the independence of the judiciary.

Amaratunga further said that the Chief Justice or her legal counsel must be given a chance to cross-examine witnesses and then only the PSC can decide whether she needs to prove her innocence against the charges.

"The chief justice or her lawyers must be provided an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses and documents collected. It is only then that the select committee has to determine whether the chief justice is required to disprove the charges," he told Reuters.

The PSC, met today for the third time without the presence of the Chief Justice, discussed the opposition representatives' proposal to postpone the proceedings of the committee until January 08.

The opposition argued that the parliament has a vacation from December 08 to January 08 and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) representative R. Sampanthan said that he needed to undergo medical treatment.

However, the seven government members of the PSC argued that the committee needed to meet during the parliamentary vacation as well.

The Chairman of the PSC Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said that a proposal would be brought in this regard in the parliament to continue the PSC proceedings during this period.

Meanwhile, the 11 members of the PSC today received the documents pertaining to the assets as well as details of bank accounts and liabilities of the Chief Justice. The PSC scrutinized the documents along with lawyers retained to assist the Committee.

The decision of the PSC for the request of the Chief Justice for five weeks to answer the charges of the impeachment motion is to be announced tomorrow.

The Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody said the according to the Constitution there is no right to know details of the hearings of the PSC and he can only say that the PSC will meet tomorrow and the Chief Justice will also appear before the PSC tomorrow afternoon.



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