Over to the Supreme Court!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012 00:59 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Court of Appeal refers petitions to prohibit Parliamentary Select Committee from hearing impeachment motion to Supreme Court for interpretation
  • Petitioners argue PSC is not a judicial body according to constitution; seek interim order on PSC

By Dharisha Bastians

A three-judge divisional bench of the Court of Appeal yesterday referred four writ applications seeking to prevent the Parliamentary Select Committee from probing the motion of impeachment filed against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, to the Supreme Court for interpretation.  

Accordingly, four petitions will be presented for interpretation to the Supreme Court tomorrow.

Several petitions were filed seeking a Writ of Prohibition against the Parliamentary Select Committee and an interim order to stay the Committee’s deliberations on the impeachment motion. Nine applications were heard by the Court today, while four were referred to the Supreme Court.

Lawyers for the petitioners argued that the Parliamentary Select Committee was attempting to conduct a judicial process that can only be conducted by a judicial organ of the state according to Article 4(c) of the Constitution. The PSC does not possess judicial powers, attorneys for the petitioners asserted. They said that Standing Order 78A under which the PSC was constituted violates the constitution because it envisioned a non judicial body embarking on a judicial process.

The hearings on the motion commenced at 2 p.m. yesterday and concluded several hours later. The three judge divisional bench comprising Justice S. Sriskandarajah, President of the Court of Appeal and Justices A.W.A Salaam and Anil Gooneratne having considered the submissions decided that the petitions required interpreting of the constitution and accordingly an interpretation would be sought from the Supreme Court. 

Among the nine petitioners were good governance proponent and former private sector leader Chandra Jayaratne, President’s Counsel Jayampathy Wickremaratne and activist Vishaka Perera Tillekeratne. Lawyers representing the petitioners included President’s Counsel K. Kanageswaran and Chrishmal Warnasuriya.