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Monday, 17 December 2012

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BASL endorses President’s decision - Secetary

The Secretary of Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) Sanjaya Gamage yesterday said they welcome the decision by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to appoint a committee to further study the report on the impeachment motion. Gamage said , the President had said he will appoint an independent committee to advise him on the impeachment of Chief Justice Dr Shirani Bandaranayaka “The BASL upholds the President’s decision,” Gamage said and added that the decision is consistent with a BASL resolution adopted on Saturday at the Association’s special general meeting,which was held to discuss the state of the judiciary in view of the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice.

Gamage said one of the three resolutions adopted by the BASL on Saturday, one is to urge the President to reconsider the impeachment motion.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa had said the independent committee that will be appointed to advise him on the outcome of the impeachment motion will not be a a challenge to the Parliamentary Select Committee(PSC) that heard the allegation leveled against Chief Justice Dr Shirani Bandaranayaka.

The impeachment hearing was carried out by the PSC according to the constitution, President Rajapaksa told media heads at a meeting at Temple Trees.

The BASL Secretary said they expect the President to take appropriate action. “It was commendable on the part of the President to appoint an independent committee on the matter.”

Gamage said the BASL is not against the impeachment process against the Chief Justice which is a constitutional process, but they are concerned about the conduct of a fair process before she or any Supreme Court judge can be removed from office.

Asked how the tense situation arose at the BASL meeting, Gamage said there were some resolutions submitted by certain members of the Associations that BASL could not proceed in accordance with the BASL constitution.

“Two parties have tabled resolutions and they expressed their views about them. After considering their proposed resolutions, the head table presented three resolutions. The resolutions were adopted with their approval and consent,”he explained.

“The tense situation arose after the resolutions had been adopted and not before,”he explained.

The resolutions include not to welcome a new Chief Justice if the current Chief Justice is removed without a fair trial.

“This does not mean that we are going to boycott courts or anything that would cause unrest in the judicial sphere. It is our custom to host a dinner for the newly appointed Chief Justice. We will not host the customary dinner in case the current CJ is removed without a fair trial,” he explained.

Asked if any political influence had manifested around the BASL because its President Wijeydasa Rajapaksa is a member of the Opposition, Secretary Gamage said, although Wijeydasa Rajapaksa is a member of the Opposition, he cannot have any political influence on the BASL.

“He can only act according to the BASL constitution and the will of the BASL members,” he said,

Asked his views on BASL Vice President Anoma Goonathilaka’s announcement that she would resign from BASL because of the disgraceful manner in which the yesterday’s meeting was conducted, Gamage said , she has not tended her resignation letter to him so far.

“The BASL special general meeting was conducted in a fair manner, “he added.

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