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Removal and reinstatement

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The ‘Legal Basis’

CJ 43 Shirani Bandaranayake’s reinstatement has a legal basis due to a serious loophole in the legal process adopted by the previous government when impeaching Dr. Bandaranayake, senior lawyer Saliya Pieris explained.

“Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake was removed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa without a request from Parliament. The motion passed in Parliament in January 2013 did not contain an address for removal which is a mandatory requirement as per the Constitution. The motion merely reproduced the earlier resolution seeking to appoint a select committee to inquire,” Pieris stated following the reinstatement of Dr. Bandaranayake.

“This lapse was never rectified, even though an objection was raised in the House. Never was there an address seeking removal sent to Mahinda Rajapaksa. So the removal of Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake as CJ 43 was void from the beginning as the President cannot remove a Judge without such an address seeking removal. Since the removal is void there was no vacancy to fill. Hence the purported appointment of Mr. Mohan Peiris is void from the beginning,” he added.

“Today, the President having reviewed everything has decided to reverse this illegality and informed Mr. Peiris of the same and at the same time he has invited Dr. Bandaranayake to resume duties as the CJ. Accordingly, Dr. Bandaranayake resumed duties as Chief Justice in her Chambers. In the eyes of the law Mr. Peiris was only the de facto CJ and not the CJ in law. This is the position taken by the BASL all along. As for his orders and judgments they continue to be valid in terms of Article 119(2) of the Constitution,” he also stated.

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