Jan 04, Colombo: According to the Constitution, Sri Lanka's parliament through a vote of Members of Parliament will decide the impeachment of the Chief Justice and the parliamentary select committee (PSC) appointed to probe the impeachment motion only provided a report to parliament, the Chairman of the PSC , Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said today.
Minister Yapa emphasized that the PSC constitutionally fulfilled the responsibility bestowed on it when the impeachment motion was brought against the Chief Justice, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake with the signatures of a majority of MPs.
The PSC inquired the allegations and ultimately submitted its report to parliament and now it is up to the parliament to vote on the impeachment motion and, Minister Yapa clarified to the state-run TV, Independent Television Network.
The Minister explained that the Constitution has recognized certain actions on the removal of Supreme Court judges or Appeal Court Judges who are appointed by the President.
The Constitution specifies that a resolution to impeach an appointed judge should be signed by not less than one-third of the total number of Members of Parliament and should set out full particulars of the alleged misbehavior or incapacity.
Upon submission of a resolution, the Constitution allows the parliament by law or by a Standing Order to appoint a special committee to investigate the allegations.
The Minister further explained that the PSC is not bound to adhere to court procedures and its only responsibility is to investigate the charges and submit the report to the parliament. Parliament's decision on the Chief Justice made through a vote will then be sent to the President to act upon it.
"If Parliament decides that she is not guilty, the process ends there," he said.
According to Sri Lanka's Constitution Article 107 (3) a top judge "shall not be removed except by an order of the President made after an address of Parliament supported by a majority of the total number of Members of Parliament has been presented to the President for such removal on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity."
Minister Susil Premajayantha meanwhile, asserted that the PSC has acted according to the Constitution regarding the impeachment motion against Chief Justice.
He pointed out the process regarding an impeachment is clearly mentioned in the clause 107(3) of the Constitution which has clearly spelled out the authority of the parliament to take suitable measures regarding the discipline of judges of Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.
Referring to the impeachment motion against the former Chief Justice Neville Samarakoon, Minister Premajayantha said the PSC acted on past examples in the impeachment motion against the present Chief Justice.