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Thursday, 8 November 2012

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CJ hearing cases, unethical, unconstitutional

*Could add to weight of the case against her ...

* Undermines confidence in Judiciary

The embattled Chief Justice against whom an impeachment hearing is now pending before Parliament, continues hearing cases from the Supreme Court Bench _ and her hearing cases yesterday in Room 502 of the Supreme Court complex for instance, is in gross violation of all expectations of propriety, legal sources say.

The same sources say that her presiding over a Supreme Court Bench is against all tenets of natural justice, and is definitely ethically if not constitutionally wrong.

The relevant article in the constitution (107 (2))dealing with the tenure of Supreme Court judges states that such persons shall hold office in good behaviour, and certainly when there are serious charges made against the Chief Justice (see editorial) amounting to moral turpitude and conduct unbecoming of the office she holds, continuing to hear cases is also constitutionally wrong -- and could add one more charge to the list of impeachable offences, legal experts say.

The impeachment motion is already

in Parliament's order paper, but the fact that the Chief Justice has disregarded the impeachment proceedings and sought it fit to preside over a Supreme Court bench, could add to the weight of the charges against her in the impeachment hearings.

Among the serious charges contained against the Chief Justice, carried in full in yesterday's edition of this newspaper, are the charges of Rs 34 million worth in foreign currency undeclared, 19 currency accounts undeclared, and buying a house using a special power of attorney from Ceylinco regards which she was hearing a case. After notice is dispatched of the impeachment hearings in Parliament, the Chief Justice will anyway be required to refrain from being on the bench as per standing orders, but her continuing to hear cases when the charges against her have been made public undermine the confidence placed in the judiciary, legal sources say.

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