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Chief Justice faces parliamentary probe

Supporters demonstrate again claiming political meddling
Chief Justice faces parliamentary probe
Shirani Bandaranayake faced the first day of a controversial parliamentary investigation for misconduct
Published: November 23, 2012 10:16 AM GMT
Updated: November 25, 2012 04:43 PM GMT

Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, Sri Lanka’s first female chief justice, headed to parliament today to face a misconduct probe amid cheers from civil society supporters who accuse President Mahinda Rajapaksa of meddling in the judiciary.

Today marked the latest protest by government critics who say Bandaranayake is being targeted by the Parliamentary Select Committee after shooting down a bill that would have given extra-ordinary powers to the president’s brother, Economics Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa.

“When the government cheats and robs the people’s rights there should at least be an independent judiciary to get redress,” said Chandrapala Kumarage, convener of Lawyers for Democracy.

Lawyers and civil rights groups have tried to block the impeachment process against Bandaranayake by filing law suits.

On Thursday evening, the Supreme Court issued a recommendation to the Parliamentary Select Committee to postpone the probe against Bandaranayake as the standoff appeared to move the country towards a constitutional crisis.

Sri Lanka’s procedures on impeaching chief justices remain unclear, say Bandaranayake’s supporters.

United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of South and Central Asian Affairs Alyssa Ayres told senior government officials in a statement that the impeachment process against Bandaranayake was a matter of concern for Washington. The United Nations has already condemned the impeachment attempt.

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