Thursday, 29 January 2015 01:02
Ousted CJ returns to office, goes back to chambers
Mohan Peiris appointment deemed void as Shirani B sacking had no legal validity
President Sirisena says Parliament voted on a motion to set up PSC instead of address to President for CJ’s removal in 2013
Shirani Bandaranayake to retire today; Justice Sripavan to be appointed CJ
After 24 hours, Shirani bows out
Tried to offer Mohan Pieris a dignified exit: BASL
Mohan Peiris goes to the police
Shirani Bandaranayake returned to Supreme Court last afternoon, after President Maithripala Sirisena restored her to office and requested her to resume duties as the country’s lawful Chief Justice.
President Sirisena wrote to controversially-appointed Chief Justice Mohan Peiris yesterday, informing him that his appointment in 2013 was null and void because Bandaranayake’s sacking by the previous Government had no legal validity.
President Sirisena also wrote to the ousted Chief Justice, telling her to resume duties at the Supreme Court, since her successor had been notified that his appointment was void.
At the judges’ entrance to the Supreme Court, groups of lawyers and activists stood to greet her re-entry to the building after two years. Clutching a floral tribute and accompanied by Bar Association President and Attorney M.A. Sumanthiran, with a large group of lawyers following closely behind, Bandaranayake walked slowly into the Supreme Court and up to her old chambers on the fifth floor.
Chief Justice Mohan Peiris, who was not listed to hear cases at the Court yesterday, was not in the premises when his predecessor was restored to office.
The controversial Peiris was under heavy pressure from the Government and the legal fraternity to stand down, especially after his presence at Temple Trees on election night had been made public.
Earlier this week Peiris was questioned by the CID on the alleged discussion about an attempt by the defeated Rajapaksa administration to hold power by force when the election results started to go against the incumbent.
In a statement issued later, President Sirisena’s media unit said Bandaranayake had never been legally removed from her post.
“There was no valid resolution passed in Parliament for the removal of CJ Shirani Bandaranayake from office and the entire process followed was grossly flawed in law,” the Presidential Media Unit said in its statement.
The President’s Office said that Parliament had voted on a resolution to create a Parliamentary Select Committee on 11 January 2013.
“However, the resolution so adopted only stated that a Select Committee had been appointed. This is made clear by the letter dated 11 October 2013 sent by the Speaker of Parliament to the then President. Although a resolution had not been passed under the Clause 107(2) of the Constitution to remove the Chief Justice, the then President purportedly removed Dr. Bandaranayake from the Office of Chief Justice and purportedly appointed Mr. Mohan Peiris to that office,” the Presidential Media Unit said.
“As no resolution had been passed under the Clause 107(2) of the Constitution to remove the Chief Justice, Shirani Bandaranayake from that office, the said removal of her and the subsequent supposed appointment of Mr. Mohan Peiris are both null and void in law is the constitutional position,” President Sirisena’s office noted.
In his election manifesto, President Sirisena pledged to reinstate Chief Justice Bandaranayake who had been sacked under controversial circumstances by the Rajapaksa administration.
However Chief Justice Bandaranayake is only expected to hold office for one day. She will retire from office today following a ceremonial sitting. Justice K. Sripavan likely to be appointed Chief Justice by President Sirisena, the Daily FT learns.