Jan 10, Colombo: Sri Lanka parliament today will debate the impeachment motion against the country's first female Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake despite numerous calls from opposition parties and civil and judicial organizations to postpone the debate.
When parliament commences the two-day debate this afternoon at 1:00 p.m., Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa is expected to make a special statement on the Appeal Court's decision based on the Supreme Court interpretation of the Constitution that the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) which probed the charges against the Chief Justice has no legal power or authority to find the top judge guilty.
The debate on the impeachment motion will continue tomorrow also and a vote will be taken on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Following the vote, if parliament agrees to impeach the Chief Justice with a simple majority, the decision will be conveyed by the Speaker to the President and the President will then decide the final course of action.
The main opposition United National Party and the Tamil National Alliance have decided to participate in the debate although both parties have vowed to vote against the impeachment motion and the Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna has decided to boycott the proceedings.
Meanwhile, several protests in support of and against the Chief Justice are currently taking place near the main court complex at Hultsdorf in Colombo.
The police have temporarily closed the roads leading to the Supreme Court complex due to the protests.
A protest march by the Lawyers Collective of Sri Lanka supporting the Chief Justice started from Hulftsdorp Court Complex this morning and proceeded towards the parliament.
However, latest local media reports said the police and Special Task Force (STF) have been deployed to block the protesters from marching towards the parliament. The marchers have held a rally in the capital and then dispersed, local media reported.
The Bar Association Sri Lanka, meanwhile, has decided to boycott the court duties during the two days of the debate as a protest to government's decision to proceed with the debate on impeachment.
Issuing a statement the BASL condemned the government's action as an impeachment without conditions and requested the President, The Speaker, representatives of the political parties and the other groups to not act against the decision of the Supreme Court.
However, the Sri Lanka Independent Lawyers Association condemned the BASL decision to refrain from court duties and said its lawyers will engage in court activities today and tomorrow protest BASL's action.