CJ hearing cases, unethical, unconstitutional
*Could add to weight of
the case against her ...
* Undermines confidence
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.