Jan 14, Colombo: A lawyers' organization in Sri Lanka, the Lawyers Collective issuing a statement over the impeachment of the Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake said the removal of the top judge affects the very foundation of independence of the Judiciary, the Rule of Law and all basic norms of a working democracy.
"The politically motivated process of removal of the Chief Justice was nothing but a misuse and abuse of Constitutional provisions and Standing Orders," the organization said.
The organization said they salute Dr. Bandaranayake for her courage and reiterated that she remains as the Chief Justice, notwithstanding being unconstitutionally removed.
The lawyers accused the Executive and Legislature of deliberately ignoring the Supreme Court's constitutional interpretation and the Appeal Court's decision to quash the impeachment report by the government members of the Parliament Select Committee.
"With this impeachment, the Government of Sri Lanka has demonstrated that it will not respect the Constitution and the Judiciary. The manner in which the impeachment process was conducted, in and outside parliament, by the government, the state media and the government-sponsored goons leaves the country with unforgettable memories of a horror period in our history."
"The conscience of the nation and the BAR is disturbed and is in anguish-and will never accept the illegal and unconstitutional removal of the Chief Justice," the Collective said.
"We have no doubt that in the annals of history, Chief Justice Bandaranayake would be remembered as a judge who did not succumb to pressure and who held the scale of justice without fear or favour. We salute her for her courage, leadership and steadfastness in facing one of the most unreasonable and irrational inquiries ever faced by a person holding such an exalted office of the Head of Judiciary in a democratic country," the statement added.
There is speculation that the Chief Justice will refuse to leave the post based on the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Constitution and Appellate Court's decision to invalidate the PSC report and her refusal to quit will precipitate a constitutional crisis.