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PSEUDO-EXPERTS EXPOSED: ICJ UNRESERVEDLY OKs IMPEACHMENT

* ICJ President is all India Bar Association President

* The Chief Justices of Pakistan, Bangladesh and World Court judge, ICJ office bearers ...

The International Council of Jurists (ICJ) representing top judges, Chief Justices of several countries and eminent persons in the field of law including a former International Court of Justice Vice President, has written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, saying that the recent impeachment of the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka is totally legal, and ‘absolutely in accordance with the prevalent Sri Lankan laws.’


Dr. Adish C Aggarwala

It is a coup de grace that destroys comprehensively, the theories by pseudo-legal experts of the Lawyers’ Collective etc., and other self appointed partisan ‘legal experts’, that the impeachment was somehow flawed, or illegal.

The reasoned opinion of the International Council of Jurists (ICJ) also lays to rest questions about compliance with a Sri Lankan Supreme Court judgment on the issue, as that judgement was obviously flawed and unconstitutional as per the reasoning of these eminent jurists.

The Chairman of the International Council of Jurists is the president of the All India Bar Association, Honourable Dr. Adish C Aggarwala.

The Vice Presidents of the organization include the Chief Justice of Pakistan, the Chief Justice of Bangladesh and the Honourable Lord Navnit Dhoalakala, House of Lords member UK, and a former British High Court judge among others, and a former International Court of Justice (world court) Vice President.

The letter elaborates that “It is clear that the constitutional process of impeachment has been followed in Sri Lanka. The procedure for removal of judges displays a good amount of similarity among various countries to that of the Sri Lankan system. Australia also follows a system of common address and simple majority’’, the letter states.

The letter further goes onto take a dim view of the fact that some organizations decried the removal of the Sri Lankan Chief Justice, not knowing Sri Lankan laws.

“It is always better to know law first and then comment’, the letter tersely adds. The letter also pledges the full support of the ICJ, to the new Sri Lankan Chief Justice, stating, “Please note that we are ready to give our full support to the newly appointed Chief Justice of SrI Lanka and Sri Lankan government in this regard.” The full text of the letter is reproduced below: Hon’bIe Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa,

President of Sri Lanka,

Colombo.

Warm Greetings from International Council of Jurists;

This is with regard to the recent impeachment of Chief Justice Ms Shirani Bandaranayake by the Sri Lankan government. The questions are whether the Constitutional requirements of impeachment have been followed by the Sri Lankan government and whether the Sri Lankan Constitutional requirements of impeachment are appropriate when comparing with other important countries.

The Constitution of Sri Lanka makes provisions for Independence of Judiciary in Article 107. Article 107(2) provides that, “Every such Judge shall hold office during good behaviour, and shall not be removed except by an order of the President made after an address of Parliament supported by a majority of the total number of Members of Parliament (including those not present) has been presented to the President for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity :

Provided that no resolution for the presentation of such an address shall be entertained by the Speaker or placed on the Order Paper of Parliament, unless notice of such resolution is signed by not less than one-third of the total number of Members of Parliament and sets out full particulars of the alleged misbehaviour or incapacity.” According to news reports, Chief Justice Ms Shirani Bandaranayake faced an 11-member Parliamentary Committee in November 2012 which investigated 14 charges of financial and official misconduct against her.

She was found guilty of professional misconduct the following month. Charges against the Chief Justice include improper conduct, amassing wealth and property, and non-declaration of assets. As the constitution puts it, ‘misconduct’ is a ground for impeachment. The requirement under the Sri Lankan Constitution has been fulfilled and supplemented by a report of the Parliamentary Committee. Thus it is clear that the constitutional process of impeachment has been followed in Sri Lanka.

The procedure for removal of judges displays a good amount of similarity among various countries to that of the Sri Lankan system.

Australia also follows a system of common address and simple majority. The constitution provides that the Justices of the High Court and of the courts created by the Parliament shall not be removed except by the Governor General in Council, on an address from both Houses of the Parliament in the same session, praying for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.

Both the Houses must, following a fill floor debate, be satisfied that a judge’s misbehaviour or incapacity has been proved, and on that basis pass a vote by simple majority to remove the judge.

The Kenyan Constitution has also given an open hand to the President to remove judges once the appointed tribunal recommends the same.

In Singapore, removal power is vested with the President who has the power to appoint a tribunal.

In Bangladesh, the President seeks report from the Supreme Judicial Council on any allegations against the judges and decides on the basis of this inquiry report.

In this situation, we take this opportunity to assure that the Sri Lankan Government has not committed wrong in removing Chief Justice Ms Shirani Bandaranayake as the removal proceedings were absolutely in accordance with the prevalent Sri Lankan laws.

We are sorry to observe that some organizations are decrying the removal as they are, in fact, not aware of Sri Lankan laws. It is always better to know law first and then comment.

Please note that we are ready to give our full support to the newly appointed Chief Justice of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan government in this regard.

We may point out that we require strong judiciary, strong executive and strong legislature throughout world who are willing to contribute a lot for preservance of rule of law.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

(Dr. Adish C Aggarwala)

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