By Colombo Telegraph –
Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake is going to fight until the end and six prominent lawyers are going to represent her the Colombo Telegraph has reliably learnt. A member of her leagal team who spoke to Colombo Telegraph on the condition of anonymity said that the Chief Justice is planning to call more than 700 witnesses.
Meanwhile Daily Mirror reported the Mahanayake Theras of the three main Nikayas have requested President Mahinda Rajapaksa to reconsider the need for the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake that had been handed over to President’s elder brother, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa by ruling party MPs on Thursday. The motion will be presented to Parliament today.
Malwatte Chapter Mahanayake the Ven. Thibbatuwawe Sumangala Thera, Asgiriya Chapter Mahanayake the Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkhitha Thera, Amarapura Nikaya Mahanayake the Ven. Dawuldena Gnanissara Thera and the Ramanna Nikaya Mahanayake the Ven. Napane Pemasiri Thera have in a letter to the President said it appeared that there was an atmosphere of crisis in the country and among the international community, centered round the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice.
“Irrespective of which is supreme out of the three entities — the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary — when it comes to safeguarding law and order of the country it is clear to any person who respects the principles of democracy that all three institutions are not second to each other in supremacy, the four prelates have said.
They said that the law was bonded with human civilization and was for the welfare of human beings and therefore the essence of Buddhist law was to consider it as the duty to subjugate the unrighteousness and propagate righteousness by controlling behaviour of individuals and ensuring the well-being of society.
The Mahanayakes said they considered it the supreme duty of all those who expected the well-being of humanity, to create an environment where the law could be implemented independently and impartially.
The main opposition UNP stressed yesterday that international and local legal experts should be allowed to observers the proceedings of the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice, also calling for a live telecast of the hearing.
UNP Senior Vice President and MP Lakshman Kiriella told journalists that observers from the International Bar Association, International Commission of Jurists and representatives of BASL and local Judges Association should be allowed to observe the proceedings in order to ensure transparency.
He said the government should allow independent observers both from here and abroad and also a live telecast of the proceedings as it was essential to determine the charges against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake are genuine or fabricated ones. Besides he said these are practices followed by many countries today.
He also said the UNP would have to participate in the select committee proceedings as it has been made compulsory that opposition members participate in it by the Constitution. Mr. Kiriella further stressed that the UNP should participate so that the party would be able to determine the charges against the Chief Justice. “We have decided to participate in the select committee proceedings in order to ensure justice to Chief justice,” he said.
Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga told The Sunday Leader that The main opposition United National Party (UNP) has decided to form a committee to look into the impeachment motion brought by the government against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake and the committee will study the motion before deciding on the next course of action.
The UNP had on Friday convened a meeting with party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to discuss the issue of the Chief Justice. Amaratunga said that the UNP policy is to ensure the independence of the judiciary and the party will do its utmost to fight to secure that independence.
Meanwhile former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva said that the motion cannot be argued in court as it is a matter purely in the hands of Parliament. “Once it is presented in Parliament and if it gets passed then the President can remove her,” Silva told media.
Democratic Left Front Secretary and Minister of National Languages and Social Integration Vasudeva Nanayakkara said that the party leaders have not signed the impeachment motion. Nanayakkara told The Sunday Leader that he will give his views on the motion once he sees the allegations after it is presented in Parliament this week.