Tried to offer Mohan Pieris a dignified exit: BASL

Thursday, 29 January 2015 01:40 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Bar Association President Upul Jayasuriya says the Government had been keen to offer Chief Justice Mohan Pieris a dignified exit, because he had held office for two years as ‘de facto’ Chief Justice of Sri Lanka. “His appointment was never lawful but in reality he held office - he was de facto Chief Justice. Therefore to ensure his public image was not sullied, he was being offered a dignified exit,” Jayasuriya told reporters shortly after Shirani Bandaranayake was restored to office. Jayasuriya said that under Article 119 of the constitution, all judgments issued by Mohan Pieris would be valid, as the provision assures that judgments will be valid even if there are defects in the appointment of judges.   The BASL had persistently maintained that Shirani Bandaranayake’s removal was illegal and therefore void, Jayasuriya said. “This position was reiterated by the Bar from time to time. Now the new Government has taken steps to restore her to office,” Jayasuriya explained. Pieris could never be appointed Chief Justice because there was never a vacancy for the position. “The 43rd Chief Justice was never legally removed from office. Therefore there was never a vacancy created. His appointment was therefore never made legally and was not in accordance with the constitution,” he said.