Debate held over position of Chief Justice

Debate held over position of Chief Justice

Written by Bella Dalima

28 Mar, 2015 | 9:42 pm

A debate on whether the removal of President’s Counsel Mohan Peiris from the position of Chief Justice was legal or not was held at the University of Colombo on Friday.

A group including the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, Attorney-at-Law Upul Jayasuriya and Attorneys-at-Law Gomin Dayasiri and Saliya Peiris were in attendance.

The debate organised by the Moot Court and Debating Society of the Faculty of Law at the University of Colombo.

President of BASL, Attorney-at-Law Upul Jayasuriya said;

A motion was tabled under article 78/2 of the standing orders with a motion urging the removal of a judge, here in this instance the Chief Justice, Dr. Bandaranaike. The removal of a judge should be confined to Article 78 Sub Article 7 of the Standing Orders. But unfortunately there was no mention of the 78/7 in the motion. Now having done so they realised that, to say the least, they made a mistake, a terrible mistake. I wont say its a complicated constitutional process, but I must say the words as referred to in the laws, the Standing Orders and the Constitution should be followed to the letter. You are removing the Chief Justice of a country. So what was conveyed by the Speaker to the President is important, because this has not been in the public domain. There’s not a word in this communication addressed to the President to remove the judge. In these circumstances she has not been removed. That’s the position that the BAR took, that’s the position that we have finally indicated.

Attorney-at-Law Gomin Dayasiri expressed these views:

I think its quite fashionable these days for chief justices to be booted. Because every chief justice nowadays seems to be getting booted. Maybe I am the only unique person in that sense, I supported the removal of Shirani Bandaranaike and opposed the appointment of Mohan Peiris. Mohan Peiris was a Legal Adviser to the government, was attached to the Defense Ministry. How can you possibly accept justice in such a case? You make political appointments, whether it is Shirani Bandaranayake from Chandrika Bandaranaike’s regime or Mohan Peiris from the Rajapaksa regime, it is wrong.

Attorney-at-Law Saliya Pieris shared these views:

In the eyes of the law Mr. Mohan Peiris was never Chief Justice of this country. So if he was not Chief Justice of this country, there is no need for him to be impeached. Because to try to have him impeached would be to recognise that he was Chief Justice. And that would be doing injustice to the constitution. Even to move to impeach him would be to recognize that he is valid. He is the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka. So in the eyes of the law, in the eyes of the constitution, his appointment was an absolute nullity.

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