No hasty trial – Ex-PSC Chairman
Posted on December 15th, 2012

by Uditha Kumarasinghe Courtesy The Sunday Observer

Environment Minister, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, who served as the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) appointed to probe the impeachment motion against Chief Justice, Shirani Bandaranayake categorically rejected the Opposition claim that the Government members of the PSC had concluded a hasty trial by presenting its report to Parliament.

“We have concluded the PSC proceedings according to its timetable. We had been given only one month. We had to conclude our proceedings within that time frame and there was no other option to adopt,” the Minister told the Sunday Observer yesterday. The Minister said no Government members of the PSC have signed the impeachment motion. Therefore, none of them are signatories to this impeachment motion.

“As the seven Government members, we only conducted an investigation to probe the allegations against the Chief Justice in the impeachment motion. This is not a judicial inquiry at all. We only submitted a report after investigating the information received by us”, he said.

Asked about the remarks made by the Opposition politicians and other responsible persons that the PSC had ignored the salient provisions of law and principles of natural justice during the conduct of this inquiry, Minister Yapa said that this is a Parliamentary inquiry. Parliamentary inquiries are conducted in a manner conforming to Parliamentary procedure. We have conducted the inquiry in that manner”, he said.

“After presenting the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice, we had given 22 days to the Chief Justice and her lawyers to answer the charges. Before that they had another eight days as well. Altogether they had nearly 30 days to reply. Most of the documents were in their domain.

“I don’t know why they didn’t reply and how this natural justice issue came up. It’s rather strange for me, because we had fully adhered to those principles,” the Minister said.

“After the Opposition members withdrew from the PSC proceedings, how can they refuse its report? If what the Government did was wrong, they should have stayed with the PSC and recorded their objections by presenting a dissenting report”, he said.


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