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* Sri Lanka parliament prepares for impeachment debate
Sun, Jan 6, 2013, 08:29 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 06, Colombo: Sri Lanka parliament is preparing to debate the impeachment motion against the country's first female Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake when it reconvenes this week after the break as the government has decided to continue with the process despite calls from various sectors for the legislature to avoid clashing with the judiciary.

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa will make a special statement when Parliament meets on Tuesday (08) regarding the Court of Appeal determination on the Supreme Court interpretation on the impeachment motion probed by the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) which found the Chief Justice guilt of three out of five charges it investigated.

The debate on the impeachment motion is tentatively scheduled for January 10 and 11after which a vote will be taken to decide the fate of the Chief Justice.

Political party leaders in Parliament will meet Monday to discuss the modalities of the two day debate on the motion.

The Court of Appeal reading the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Constitution ruled last week that the PSC has no legal power or authority to find a judge guilty since the Standing Order 78A under which the committee is appointed is not law.

However, the Chairman of the PSC that probed the charges, Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa pointed out that the Constitution has recognized that upon submission of a resolution to impeach an appointed judge e signed by not less than one-third of the total number of Members of Parliament, allows the parliament by law or by a Standing Order to appoint a special committee to investigate the allegations.

Following the parliamentary debate the Speaker will advise the President of the parliament's decision on the Chief Justice and the President will take an appropriate action based on the parliamentary decision.

"If Parliament decides that she (Chief Justice) is not guilty, the process ends there," Minister Yapa 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."

Meanwhile, leftist parties of the ruling coalition have not yet decided whether to support the government on the debate to impeach the top judge.

Earlier the three leftist parties urged the President to prorogue the parliament to allow sufficient time to resolve the standoff between the two arms of the government. However, the President has not supported the idea.



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