Sri Lankan parliament to impeach first woman chief justice: Report
Posted on October 31st, 2012

PTI | Oct 31, 2012, 12.07PM IST

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition is all set to impeach the country’s first woman chief justice on the charges of “improper conduct” after weeks of a simmering spat between the executive and the judiciary, a media report said.

A motion to remove Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake from the post will be handed over to the parliamentary speaker on Thursday, the Sinhala language daily ‘Lankadeepa’ said on Wednesday.

The government parliamentary group had endorsed the move at a meeting of the ruling coalition leaders, it said.

The speaker will be informed on the motion under section 107 of the constitution with one third of parliament’s 225 members or 75 MPs putting their signatures on the motion.

The paper said the motion is to be moved on the basis of “chief justice’s improper conduct” and had been signed already by 117 members of the government.

The move follows weeks of a simmering spat between the executive and the judiciary, it said.

The government was irked by a ruling on a major financial bill in which theSupreme Court held that the bill must be referred to provincial councils for approval before being submitted in national parliament.

In mid-September the Judicial Service Commission issued a public statement claiming interference in the judiciary by the executive.

Early this month the secretary to the commission, judge Manjula Thilakaratne, was assaulted by an unknown group which the opposition blamed on the government.

Last week, Bandaranayake’s husband Pradeep Kariyawasam was indicted by the anti-graft commission for his role as chairman of the state savings bank over a dubious share deal.

Bandaranayake who was appointed last year became the first woman to head the highest court. She was also the first woman judge in the Supreme Court.

10 Responses to “Sri Lankan parliament to impeach first woman chief justice: Report”

  1. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Husband of Dr Shirani Bandaranayake – Pradeep Gamini Suraj Kariyawasam (GCE A/L qualified – Former Royal College Cricket Team -Vice Captain))was as the chairman of National Savings Bank and he holds a 30 hours course – Certificate of Marketing from CIM (UK). He had served earlier as the chairman of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation and as a manager at Unimo, United Motors, Browns Group and Ceylinco. While employed as the Sales Manager of Ceylinco Ltd he was fired due to misappropriation of premiums. Pradeep Gamini Suraj Kariyawasam is a small fish compared to Bandit Queen CBK. Bandit Queen CBK kept millions of cash under the name of her sister in a locker at the Suduwella branch of HNB. CBK betrayed everybody who had trusted her including her own husband, her best friends and her own party. Bandit Queen CBK got money, houses in foreign countries as bribe from secret deals including Airlanka, Shell Gas, Channel 9 etc. Why the Parliament did not impeach Bandit Queen CBK?

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    This should be a test case to SCRAP 13 amendment.

    All this started AFTER SC ordered to refer the BILL to PCs. The BILL plans to bypass PCs.

    1. So those MPs who support BYPASSING PCs must support the impeachment.
    2. Those MPs who oppose BYPASSING PCs must oppose the impeachment.

    If #1s are 150+, bring a resolution to SCRAP 13 amendment.
    If less, try another trick.

    e.g. SCRAP ministries given to and REMOVE their body guards of (exposing them to various “accidents”) those who don’t support the 2 resolutions.

    BUT I must add, using these means for good things is good but if the govt. uses these tactics to take over the SC, then we have a BIG problem.

    I support anything to scrap 13 amendment. It was ILLEGALLY and IMMORALLY imposed, so we should not hesitate to use those means to scrap it too.

  3. nandimitra Says:

    If the real reason behind the impeachment is the supreme court decision on divineguma then this augers the way to a parliamentary dictatorship. With regards to the inappropriate behaviour of her husband then there is moral reason behind the impeachment. But then against all that i, no minister has resigned when blatant corruption in the petroleum corp and other institutions was exposed. This confussion is purely a result of poor governance. The UNP the government in the making has unto now not made any policy decision on the corruption . The only conclusion is that every segment of society is corrupt. God save Sri Lanka and her poor.

  4. Sirih Says:

    64K question is, If SL constitution is unitary , how come central parliament cannot make legislation with out consulting PC ? ( even though it affect PC)

    Do we have a federal constitution by illegal means? If so what is going on here? I hope one of our imminent lawyer here can answer this question..

    Did CJ interpretation of the constitution and the PC, based on narrow definition of the law or do we have some hidden hand pushing these ideas ?

    Either way we are heading for rocks and I am not in favour of impeaching the Judiciary .. This gives more ammunition to our distractors abroad.

    If the laws are bad change them.

  5. Ananda-USA Says:


    You have asked some very pertinent questions.

    But the REAL question is: What are the powers assigned by the Constitution to the Provincial Councils? Is the Chief Justice merely INTERPRETING the law according to the existing constitution, AS SHE SHOULD, or is she making a NEW LAW through an unjustifed interpretation that is contrary to the spirit and letter of the Constitution, AS SHE IS NOT ALLOWED TO DO? I intend to RESEARCH this matter for myself.

    More importantly, this CLEARLY DEMONSTRATES the problems that SL will face if the 13th Amendment and the Provincial Council System remains in force: it will UNDERMINE the power of the Central Government to ACT IN THE NATIONAL INTEREST on a whole slew of things affecting National Security, Maintenance of Law & Order, Land Utilization, Infrastructure Development, Education, Healthcare, Language Policy, National Integration, etc etc ad infinitum, ad nauseam. Anything that crosses the physical, legal or administrativel boundaries of the Provinces will be contested.

    For example, when the 13th Amendment and the PC System is implemented, it will no longer possible for Sri Lanka to undertake military action to defeat separatist groups like the LTTE that arise in the future. Each Province will have a veto power.

    Everytime the Central Government wants to do something, the Provincial Governments will be able to challenge it and stop it. If the PCs are over-ridden in any way, they will appeal to foreign countries and claim that “democracy” is being undermined and the laws of the land are being violated.

    Sri Lanka is a very small country, much smaller than many COUNTIES in the USA, much less provinces/states. I don’t hear outcries for a full fledged multi-level government to be imposed on them.

    Why do we need the full unwieldy apparatus of a federal style government to manage our little country? There is NO REASON AT ALL, except the URGENT NEED of the TNA (and the SLMC) to use the Provincial Council System as a LEVER to get the maneuvering space to create their own separate Ethno-Religious fiefdoms.

    The 13th Amendment and the PC System was imposed ILLEGALLY on SL by force by India, in the dark of the night. If we fall into the same sinkhole during the DAY that we fell into in the dead of the NIGHT, WE DESERVE EVERY MISFORTUNE THAT BEFALLS US in the future.

    There is NO CURE that I know for TERMINAL STUPIDITY!

    If the Chief Justice stands in the way of REPEALING the 13th Amendment, without understanding that this is an ILLEGAL law IMPOSED UNDER DURESS upon Sri Lanka, then let her be IMPEACHED on that basis, and be DISMISSED from her position as a Justice on the Supreme Court.

    There are two cleaner ways to get rid of the 13th Amnedment & the PC System: 1. By a 2/3 vote by the Members of Parliament, which requires the GOSL to take the lead, and bear the CRITCISM of the foreign enemies of SL, and 2. By holding a National Referendum that transfers the solution and the criticism to the voting citizens.

    Both of these methods are examples of DEMOCRACY in ACTION, with the first option polling the elected representatives of the citizens, and the second option directly polling the citizen voters. If the GOSL is UNWILLING to bear the criticism they used their party strength to influence the outcome in the first option , let them wear a FIG LEAF on the sidelines and transfer that responsibility to the PATRIOTIC citizens by holding a National Referendum.

    NONE of the jaundiced Western Champions of DEMOCRACY can claim that is UNDEMOCRATIC, for it is the BEST EXPRESSION of the will OF the People, BY the People, FOR the People of Sri Lanka, and NONE OTHERS.

  6. Dham Says:

    “For example, when the 13th Amendment and the PC System is implemented, it will no longer possible for Sri Lanka to undertake military action to defeat separatist groups like the LTTE that arise in the future. Each Province will have a veto power.”
    No such thing will happen as state of emergency can be passed.

    I don’t understand why must impeach CJ , who, by creating this problem showed the urgency to attack 13 nonsence.

    By attacking her, that urgency will be gone and back to business of making merry with lies.

  7. Fran Diaz Says:

    As a side issue, here is the Divineguma Bill. I fail to see anything to oppose in this Bill. It is development at, and empowering People, at grass roots level. The 13-A fails to do so. In USA, over 15% of businesses are based on the Co-operative system which can be considered as “grass roots” business.

    Hon. Basil Rajapaksa Senior adviser to the President and Minister of Economic Development presented the Divineguma bill to parliament in order to establish the Department of Divineguma Development by amalgamating the Samurdhi Authority of Sri Lanka Southern Development Authority of Sri Lanka and the Udarata Development Authority of Sri Lanka to establish Divineguma Community Based Organizations at rural level and to provide for a co- coordinating network at the district level and national level; to establish Divineguma Community Based Banks and Divineguma Community Based Banking Societies; in furtherance of the economic development process and in giving effect to the national policy of alleviating poverty and ensuring social equity.
    It has become necessary to improve the individual, family and group centered livelihood development activities, Divineguma intends to mobilize people into ‘a national development process at community level establishing Divineguma community based organizations thus building up regional, district and ational level co-coordinating network and developing and promoting a micro- finance banking system.
    The object of the Department shall be to carry out such development activities as may be required to alleviate poverty and to bring about a society guaranteeing social equity; to promote the individual family and group centered livelihood economic development activities; to ensure food security for each individual and family; to mobilize and empower people to speed up the national development; to provide micro-financial facilities for the purpose of promoting the livelihood development of people; to develop physical and social infrastructure facilities as may be required for the development of the livelihood of people; to carry out such studies and research as may be required relating to the economic and social upliftment of people; to develop the human capital in order to uplift living standards of people; and to create a social security network for those who are in need of social security.
    Under Proposel Divineguma Act Divineguma community based organizations Will be established and with the voluntary participation of Divinegurna beneficiaries.
    Divineguma regional organizations will be established for the purpose of supervising, monitoring and evaluating the functions of such organizations at regional level.
    Divineguma district committees will be established representing all Divineguma regional organizations functional within a district.
    There shall be established for the purposes of this Act, Divineguma community based banking societies comprising of all Divineguma community based banks within the area of authority of each Divineguma regional organization, in order to establish a viable micro-financial banking network at regional level.
    All the officers and servants in the said authorities including more than 27000 Samurdhi officers will be absorbed in ]to the new Department and they are eligible for pension.

  8. Lorenzo Says:

    It is in here.

    “a national development process at community level establishing Divineguma community based organizations thus building up regional, district and ational level co-coordinating network and developing and promoting a micro- finance banking system.”

    1. It is a NATIONAL process.

    2. That goes to grassroots levels.

    3. BYPASSING PCs (13 amendment).

    Very good.

  9. Ananda-USA Says:

    The fact that the Chief Justice delivered the Decision on the DiviNaguma Bill to the Secretary General of the Parliament instead of the Speaker seems, at face value, to be a minor, remediable, technicality.

    The REAL ISSUE here seems to be the RULING of the Supreme Court (SC), under the Chief Justice’s leadership, that the NATIONL DiviNaguma Bill, which cuts across Provincial boundaries, is UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

    The Chief Justice seems to be BLIND to the fact that the 13th Amendment which created the Provincial Council System, and which forms the basis of the SC decision on the DiviNaguma Bill, is itself UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

    The 13th Amendment was ILLEGALLY imposed upon Sri Lanka by India, ignoring VOCIFEROUS PROTESTS from the majority community, and most citizens, of Sri Lanka, under the THREAT of Permanent Military Occupation of Sri Lanka by Indian Forces.

    If the Chief Justice cannot find the LEGAL PRECEDENT for delivering a Judgment that QUESTIONS the LEGALITY of the 13th Amendment itself, she DOES NOT BELONG in her position as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, for she lacks either the necessary JUDICIAL KNOWLEDGE to DISCOVER those PRECEDENTS, and/or the necessary personal commitment to preserving the Integrity and Sovereignty of Sri Lanka.

    In my own comments at and the , I have identified many International Legal Precedents (for example, the infamous Munich Agreement that was abrogated by Czechoslovakia after the defeat of Nazi Germany) that can be used for that purpose.

    Therefore, let this MYOPIC & USELESS judge be removed from the Supreme Court, using any and all evidence that exists of her unsuitability for her position on the Supreme Court, for she has failed her FOREMOST DUTY to Defend & Protect Sri Lanka.

  10. Fran Diaz Says:

    Ananda, USA :

    “The REAL ISSUE here seems to be the RULING of the Supreme Court (SC), under the Chief Justice’s leadership, that the NATIONL DiviNaguma Bill, which cuts across Provincial boundaries, is UNCONSTITUTIONAL”.

    Absolutely spot on !

    But, is the DiviNaguma Bill truly Unconstitutional ?

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