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Speaker receives impeachment papers on CJ

*Judiciary must be neutral

*Smooth operation of separation of powers breached

An impeachment motion against Chief Justice Dr Shirani Bandaranayake was handed over to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa yesterday by the government, considering the questions that arose affecting the understanding and harmony of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, Information and Media Minister and Cabinet Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said.

Addressing the Cabinet press briefing at the ministry auditorium yesterday, the minister said the smooth operation of the three institutions was breached due to certain aspects of her conduct in recent time.

The impeachment motion with about 117 signatories, including the representation of all constituent parties of the UPFA, was handed over to the Speaker by Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Deputy Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna, MPs Dr Sudarshini Fernandopulle, Shantha Bandara and Arundika Fernando. The Motion suggests the removal from office due to allegations of improper conduct on the part of the CJ connected to her office and also privately.

Minister Rambukwella said the Speaker would consider the Motion and would decide whether to appoint a Select Committee or put it for debate in Parliament.

He said the Opposition has expressed its willingness to participate in the Select Committee on this matter.

The minister stressed the Judiciary must be neutral and be fair at the same time. He observed Parliament encountered an issue of Supremacy a few weeks ago, and at that point the Speaker made a special announcement in Parliament based on that disagreement to explain the supremacy of Parliament.

He said since the situation has yet not been rectified, the government group decided to approach the next step according to the provisions in the Constitution, respecting democracy.

Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, responding to a question by a journalist on the charges made against the CJ, said the charges could not be revealed publicly until they were communicated to the CJ by the Select Committee as per the Standing Order 78 of Parliament.

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