Jan 13, Colombo: Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) said today that the motion to impeach the Chief Justice was not passed in parliament properly according to the Constitution and therefore, the President has no legal grounds to remove the Chief Justice or appoint a new Chief Justice.
Issuing a statement General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake said the Supreme Court had decided that the parliamentary select committee appointed to investigate the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayke was not constitutional and based on that decision the Appellate Court ruled that the report of the PSC was null and void.
Therefore, the parliament has no constitutional power to debate a report that has been declared null and void by the Court, the statement said.
The opposition accused the President of violating the Constitution by the order to sack the Chief Justice and the independence of the judiciary when the country is about to face the United Nations Human Rights Council in March.
Attanayake said that at the last year's UNHRC meeting Sri Lanka avoided an international investigative mechanism into the alleged human rights violations committed during the conflict since the President and the External Affairs Minister assured the UNHRC that Sri Lanka has an independent judicial system and can independently address such issues.
However, the impeachment of the Chief Justice shows the Council that Sri Lanka no longer has an independent judiciary, he said, adding that the country's security forces will now be susceptible to an international investigation since the President has taken measure to protect his brothers.
Attanayake accused the "Rajapaksa brotherhood" for destroying both the independence of the judiciary and the honor of parliament and said the UNP's stance is that the removal of Chief Justice is not only unconstitutional but also unpatriotic.