Jan 12, Colombo: The Commonwealth said it is 'profoundly' concerned about the decision taken by the Sri Lankan parliament Friday to impeach the country's first female Chief Justice and urged the Sri Lankan government to carefully evaluate the ramifications before taking any further decisions.
The Sri Lankan parliament Friday passed the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake by a majority of 106 votes.
Issuing a statement, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Kamalesh Sharma said the impeachment of a Chief Justice is a very serious matter and in this particular case, it has called into question aspects of Sri Lanka's Constitution.
"The Commonwealth, collectively, is profoundly concerned about this situation," Sharma said.
The Secretary-General asked the Sri Lankan urged the Sri Lankan Government to pause for further careful consideration over the decision to impeach the top judge.
"I strongly urge that time be taken to reflect and consider fully the constitutional and other ramifications of the differing positions taken by the Judiciary and Legislature before any decision is taken by the Executive on the impeachment of the Chief Justice," Sharma cautioned in his statement.
The Secretary-General said he has been in touch with the Sri Lankan Government at the highest levels to offer Commonwealth assistance to find a way forward.
"I recognise that this is a matter for Sri Lanka, but am also conscious of our shared Commonwealth values and principles, to which Sri Lanka and all member governments have subscribed," the Secretary-General said.
According to Sri Lanka's Constitution, the President has to issue the final order to impeach a high court judge following the passage of the impeachment motion by the parliament with a simple majority.