Parliament supreme, court cannot challenge impeachment motion – govt
Posted on November 29th, 2012

By Saman Indrajith Courtesy The Island

Leader of the House, Irrigation Minister, Nimal Siripala de Silva yesterday told Parliament that there were no provisions in the Constitution or Standing Orders or any other law in the country to challenge the Parliamentary Select Committee, appointed to probe the charges against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranyake.

Raising a privilege issue, Minister de Silva said: “A motion signed by 117 Members of Parliament, as per Article 107 (2) of the Constitution, to be presented to the President for the removal of the Hon (Dr.) (Mrs.) Upatissa Atapattu Banadaranayake Wasala Mudiyanse Ralahamilage Shirani Anshumala Bandaranayake from the office of Chief Justice, of the Supreme Court of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, was moved in this Parliament and included in the parliament order paper on November 06, 2012.

A special parliamentary select committee was appointed to investigate the charges mentioned in the impeachment motion under the chairmanship of Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa with 10 other Members of Parliament on November 14, 2012.

“This special PSC, under the powers vested in it by the Parliament Standing Orders, met and commenced its investigations and is due to meet again on December 04. In this context, several parties have filed writ applications before the Court of Appeal and they have been referred to the Supreme Court. They are Court of Appeal, writ application No 358/2012 (Supreme Court reference 3/2012), writ application No. 361/2012 (Supreme Court reference 4/2012), writ application No. 362/2012 (Supreme Court reference 5/2012), writ application No. 365/2012 (Supreme Court reference 6/2012), writ application No. 367/ 2012 (Supreme Court reference 7/2012), writ application No. 368/2012 (Supreme Court reference 8/2012), and writ application No. 369/2012 (Supreme Court reference 9/2012).

“These writ applications have named the Speaker and members of the PSC as respondents. I would like to inform the Speaker that I and the members have received the notices pertaining to writ appeals. Some of these notices mention the Speaker as the first respondent and the petitioners have sought to suspend the functions and proceedings of the PSC. I now table a copy of the writ application No. 360/2012 Supreme Court reference 7/2012 that I had received on Wednesday evening.

“I would like to point out that there are no provisions in the Constitution or Standing Orders or any other law in the country to challenge the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed by the Speaker.

“Further, the Special Parliamentary Select Committee should follow the guidelines, instructions and commands from the Speaker and this Parliament. There are no legal provisions for an outside body, party, institution or court of law to issue commands, recommendations on the procedures and functions of the PSC. The Speaker and the Members of Parliament are bound by the responsibility to safeguard and protect the identity, independence and dignity of Parliament from the threats against it.

The Speaker, Parliament or its committee members are not liable to decisions or determinations dispensed by these writ applications. In this regard I would like to draw the attention to pages 1031 to 1048 of the Hansard of Parliament which carry an order given by the then Speaker Anura Bandaranaike on June 20, 2001 pertaining to cases numbering SCFR 297/2001 and SCFR 298/2001. That order says that the Supreme Court is not in a position to give injunction orders and the Speaker is not bound by such injunction orders.

“Therefore I would call upon the Speaker to take this precedence into consideration and to give an order on the notices we received threatening the independence, sovereignty, identity and dignity of Parliamentary democracy.”

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