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* Sri Lanka committee on impeachment trial of Chief Justice submits report to parliament
Sat, Dec 8, 2012, 12:43 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 08, Colombo: The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) hearing the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayke has submitted its resolution to parliament on Saturday (08).

The PSC, which met Friday without its opposition members and the Chief Justice herself, had concluded its probe against the country's top judge and submitted the resolution to parliament today, on the last day of parliamentary sessions for the year.

The chairman of the PSC Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa has said that a comprehensive report has been submitted to Parliament on the impeachment motion.

The legislature has been informed that it will be allocated 10 days for the debate on the resolution on the impeachment of the top judge.

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa has announced in Parliament that he was ready to allocate 10 days for a debate on the resolution after the legally required one month time.

According to the Standing orders of Parliament once a resolution is submitted to Parliament the legislature has to wait for one month before the Speaker can announce further action on the resolution and place it in the Order Paper.

The resolution will then be subjected to a vote at the end of the debate and it needs to be passed with a simple majority to allow the President to impeach the Chief Justice.

Parliament will take its one month break for the holidays from today and meet on January 8, 2013.

The 11-member PSC, appointed by the Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa and comprised seven government members and four opposition members, began its hearings on the impeachment motion against the country's first female chief justice on November 23.

The impeachment motion signed by 117 ruling party legislators charged the 54-year-old Chief Justice with 14 counts of financial and personal misconduct.

When the PSC met for the fourth time on Thursday Dr, Bandaranayake and her legal team walked out of the committee saying that she has no faith in the PSC that she would have a fair trial.

Following her walk-out the four opposition members in the PSC requested the chairman to provide her with sufficient time to study the 300 documents relevant to the case in defending the charges against her and allow her the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses.

When their request was denied by the Chairman of the PSC, the opposition members also left the committee saying that they too have no faith in the PSC and could not be a party to an unfair process.

Despite the absence of the opposition or the defendant the ruling party members of the PSC continued its hearing yesterday.

The impeachment resulted from a months-long simmering between the parliament and the judiciary after the Supreme Court ruled that a controversial poverty alleviation bill needs the approval from the provincial councils.

The Sri Lankan government's swift move to impeach the Chief Justice has raised concerns internationally.

On Friday the United States said it is deeply concerned about actions surrounding the ongoing impeachment trial of the Chief Justice and urged the Sri Lankan government to guarantee due process, and ensure that all investigations are conducted transparently and in accordance with the rule of law.



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