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* Bar Association of Sri Lanka to discuss impeachment of top judge with the Speaker
Sat, Nov 17, 2012, 08:55 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Nov 17, Colombo: Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) says that the Speaker of the parliament Chamal Rajapaksa has agreed to discuss the motion to impeach the Chief Justice, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake.

Executive Secretary of the BASL Sanjaya Gamage said the Speaker has granted them the opportunity to discuss the matter on November 21, at 3 p.m.

The BASL has decided to request the government to reconsider the impeachment motion. BASL also attempts to guarantee its rights for representation at the impeachment hearing.

The BASL secretary said that 30 delegates comprising former Chairmen of the BASL would meet the Speaker.

Meanwhile the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) probing the impeachment charges against the Chief Justice has informed her to appear before the PSC on November 23.

After considering an appeal from the Chief Justice for a period of six weeks, the PSC has asked her to make the request when she appears before the PSC.

The PSC comprising seven government members and four opposition members is chaired by Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa.

Sri Lanka's first female Chief Justice is charged with 14 counts of improper conduct or conduct unbecoming of a person holding the office of the Chief Justice, involving in matters that could amount to causes of action or controversy, and influencing the process of delivery of justice.

The move to impeach the top judge has raised concerns both locally and internationally.

The United States has expressed concern over the move and asked Sri Lanka to refrain from infringing judicial independence. The UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, recently expressed her apprehension with the procedure launched in the Sri Lankan parliament to impeach the Chief Justice.

The Commonwealth expressing its concern over the move said the preservation of the rule of law and independence of the judiciary are vital to the healthy functioning of a democracy.

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