Speaker decides vote on impeachment in order:Chief justice impeached with two thirds majority- Vote far exceeds necessary simple majority:
Posted on January 11th, 2013

Sandasen Marasinghe and Disna Mudalige – Courtesy The Daily News 

Parliament yesterday passed the impeachment resolution for the removal of Chief Justice Dr Shirani Bandaranayake, the first ever impeachment motion passed against a Chief Justice in Sri Lanka, with a two-thirds majority.

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa said the resolution will be directed to President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

At the conclusion of the impeachment debate in Parliament around 8 pm, the vote was taken by the Speaker, and by 155 votes to 49, the House decided to impeach the Chief Justice last evening. The vote was taken around 8.00 pm, after the Speaker conveyed his decision following a 10 minute break at around 7.40 pm, that since the address for impeachment could be made by the President and the provisions for that are contained in parliamentary procedure, the vote on the impeachment could take place.

Accordingly, thereafter the names of MPs were called individually, beginning with the Prime Minister, and the Speaker announced the result of the vote. Celebratory firecracker reports were heard around the city, when the news was announced.

The impeachment motion signed by 117 Members of Parliament was ratified by 155 members in favour while 49 members voted against. Twenty members were not present at the time the vote was taken.

Ministers DEW Gunasekara, Professor Tissa Vitharana and Chandrasiri Gajadeera were not present at the time of voting while V G Padmasiri of the LSSP voted in favour.

UNP and TNA members were not present in the House.

The impeachment motion included 14 charges against the Chief Justice.

It was handed over to the Speaker on November 1, 2012 and included in the Parliament Order Paper on November 6.

Speaker Rajapaksa appointed the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) with Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa as the chairman. The PSC included 11 members of which seven were government members. Two of the rest were from the UNP wile the DNA and the TNA each, were represented by one member. Chief Justice Dr Bandaranayke appeared before the PSC on November 23. She walked out of the PSC with her counsel on December 6. Opposition members of the PSC walked out of the investigation on December 7. The investigations continued as the quorum of the PSC remained.

The PSC investigated only five charges of the impeachment motion. The Chief Justice was found guilty of three charges. The report was presented before Parliament on December 8. After a lapse of one month from the presentation of the PSC report in Parliament, the PSC report was taken up for debate on January 10. The vote was taken yesterday evening after the completion of two days of debate. Leader of the House and Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva asked for the division by name. The vote was taken at 7.40pm and lasted until 8pm.

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