Bribery Commission acts against Shirani B.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  •  Charges filed against non-declaration of assets
  • CJ 43 ordered to appear before Colombo Magistrate
  • BASL says Shirani B. is being singled out for legal action
  • Lawyers say all MPs and public officials who have not declared assets are liable to be charged under same law
  • BASL charges there is no equality before law
By Dharisha Bastians In a bizarre twist, impeached Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake has been ordered to appear before the Colombo Magistrate on 16 September, to face charges pertaining to the non-declaration of assets in the annual declaration every elected and public official must submit. Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya issued notice on the former Chief Justice to appear before the court in September. The case was filed by the Bribery Commission yesterday after the Commission conducted an inquiry that commenced on 18 March, just two months after Bandaranayake was impeached from office in a highly controversial process. She made several appearances before the Commission since then. Her lawyers have repeatedly raised objections and concerns about the two commissioners investigating bribery charges against her, citing prejudice. The objections have been disregarded. Shirani Bandaranayake, Sri Lanka’s 43rd Chief Justice, was impeached by the UPFA-led Parliament on 11 January, amid strong protests by the Opposition and the legal fraternity that charged her removal was unconstitutional. Her impeachment was declared null and void by the rulings by both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal before Parliament voted to impeach her, but Government legislators ignored the rulings. The non-declaration of assets – referring to several bank accounts Bandaranayake possessed at the NDB Bank – was one charge in the 14 point impeachment charge sheet filed against her in Parliament. The continued campaign against Bandaranayake comes in the wake of calls by the Commonwealth for Sri Lanka to establish a process for disciplining and removal of senior judges that comply with the organisation’s Latimer House Principles governing the independence of the judiciary in member states.