By Colombo Telegraph –
“It is the Supreme Court that should have created the disciplinary process for judges. The executive or legislature should not have usurped the function of the judicial branch, which is an independent branch. The Standing Orders relating to impeachment of judges should only have been adopted on the advice and the approval of the Supreme Court.” says the Asian Human Rights Commission
Now that several petitions against the impeachment are before the Supreme Court, the court has the opportunity to correct the wrong procedure that has been followed earlier by the Parliamentary Select Committee, in drafting and adopting the Standing Orders as it stand now.
Issuing a statement AHRC said “had the court been earlier consulted, it would have given advice on the basis of law as to how to draft the Standing Orders in a way that will not violate the status and the dignity of judges of Sri Lanka. The court can now take notice of the injustice that has been caused to the judiciary in adopting the Standing Orders as they are now and use this occasion to undo the historic injustice.”
“The unjust Standing Orders have been used on three occasions, causing grave problems for three Chief Justices. It could have caused anxiety to all others. Any day, these procedures could be used by anyone. Now the Supreme Court has a historic opportunity to take a matter that strictly belongs to it to its own hand, and make it safe for all judges in the future. The lawyers of Sri Lanka has expressed their condemnation of the abuse of impeachment process and demanded that the law relating impeachment be in conformity with the best practices recognized throughout the world. The eight resolutions passed by the bar association is a clear indication of what the lawyers of Sri Lanka wants on this particular issue.Bar and Bench should now make this occasion to let the nation know that they will defend legality against illegality at all cost.” the AHRC further said.
The Court of Appeal yesterday referred to the Supreme Court for its constitutional interpretation of Article 107(3) of the Constitution on the procedure to be adopted on the impeachment of a Judge.
The Bench comprising Justices S. Sriskandarajah (President of C/A), Anil Goonaratne and A.W.A. Salam decided to forward the reference in respect of four Writ petitions seeking to prohibit members of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) from continuing the investigation into allegations against the Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake.
These petitions were filed on the grounds that the PSC has no judicial power.
The Article 107(3) of the Constitution in question reads as follows:
“Parliament shall by law or by Standing Orders provide for all matters relating to the presentation of such an address, including the procedure for the passing of such resolution, the investigation and proof of the alleged misbehaviour or incapacity and the right of such judge to appear and to be heard in person or by representative.”