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The Supreme Court requests the PSC to withhold the impeachment inquiry

  1. SRI LANKA: The Supreme Court requests the PSC to withhold the
    impeachment inquiry

    The Supreme Court yesterday (November 22) decided to inform the
    Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) appointed to inquire into the
    allegations made in the impeachment motion filed by a number of
    Members of Parliament against the Chief Justice. The court is
    inquiring into a reference made by the Court of Appeal acting in terms
    of Article 125 of the Constitution referring to the following question
    relating to the interpretation of the Constitution for the
    determination of the Supreme Court:

    "Is it mandatory under Article 107(3) of the Constitution for the
    Parliament to provide for the Parliament to provide for matters
    relating to the forum before which the allegations are to be proved,
    the mode of proof, the burden of proof, the standard of proof etc., of
    any alleged misbehaviour or incapacity in addition to the matters
    relating to the investigation of the alleged misbehaviour or
    incapacity?"

    The court stated:

    .....this Court whilst reiterating that there has to be mutual
    respect and understanding founded upon the rule of law between
    Parliament and the Judiciary for the smooth functioning of both the
    institutions, wishes to recommend to the members of the Select
    Committee of Parliament that it is prudent to defer the inquiry to be
    held against the Hon. the Chief Justice until this Court makes its
    determination on the question of law referred to by the Court of
    Appeal. The desirability and paramount importance of acceding to the
    suggestions made by this Court would be based on mutual respect and
    trust and as something essential for the safe guarding of the rule of
    law and the interest of all persons concerned and ensuring that
    justice is not only done but is manifestly and undoubtedly seen to be
    done.

    The Supreme Court also directed the Court of Appeal to inform the
    respondents that is, the 11 members of the PSC, to file written
    submissions in terms of the Rule 64 (1)(b) of the Supreme Court rules.

    The Registrar of the Supreme Court was directed to send copies of the
    written submissions lodged under the aforesaid rule to the Hon.
    Attorney General and the written submission of the Hon. The Attorney
    General could be filed in terms of the aforesaid rules.

    The Supreme Court further ordered the Registrar of the court to serve
    certified copies of the order of the court to all respondent members
    of the PSC together with the certified copies of petitions and
    affidavits filed in the Court of Appeal and a copy of the order of
    reference made by the Court of Appeal.

    The Asian Human Rights Commission welcomes the orders made by the
    Supreme Court and hopes that the honourable members of the PSC will
    honour the request. The upholding of the rule of law will be enhanced
    by the PSC cooperating with the Supreme Court on this important issue.

    Commenting on this order Basil Fernando, the Director, Policy and
    Programme Development, of the AHRC said that order of the Supreme
    Court may be a small step for the court but it is a gigantic step in
    the pursuit of the rule of law, democracy and the independence of the
    judiciary in Sri Lanka.

    Read this statement online
    <http://www.humanrights.asia/news/ahrc-news/AHRC-STM-239-2012&gt;
    # # #

    About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional
    non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia,
    documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional
    reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The
    Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

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