CJ’s petition: Speaker, PSC issued notice

Saturday, 22 December 2012 00:19 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Dharisha Bastians

A three-judge bench of the Court of Appeal yesterday issued notice on 13 respondents including the Speaker of Parliament Chamal Rajapaksa and the 11 members of the Parliamentary Select Committee that probed the impeachment charges against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, and warned the authorities not to act until the petition filed by the Chief Justice was “heard and concluded”.

An Appeals Court bench presided over by President of the Court of Appeal S. Skandarajah and comprising Justices Anil Gooneratne and A.W.A. Salaam delivered this order regarding a writ application filed by Chief Justice Bandaranayake seeking to quash the findings of the PSC report that found her guilty on three charges and restrain the Speaker from acting on the report.

The three-judge bench which reserved its order for 11 a.m. yesterday after hearing submissions from Bandaranayake’s legal team on Thursday (20) said the Court had jurisdiction to hear the petition. The judges warned of a chaotic situation if authorities tried to alter the status quo while the application was being heard in court.

“The court is of the view that any steps taken in furtherance of the findings in the report would be void if this court issues a writ to quash the findings. The relevant authorities must advise themselves not to act in derogation of the rights of the petitioner until this application is heard and concluded. Any decision regarding these proceedings to alter the status quo may lead to a chaotic situation,” the court said in its order.

Neelakandan and Neelakandan Attorneys-at-Law filed the application for writs of certiorari and prohibition on behalf of Chief Justice Bandaranayake on Wednesday (19). The petition will be supported by Romesh De Silva PC, and assisted by Nalin Ladduwahetty PC and Attorneys-at-Law Saliya Pieris, Sugath Caldera, Riad Ameen, Buddhika Illangetilake, Manjuka Fernandopulle, Shanaka Cooray, and Eraj De Silva. Thirteen respondents have been cited in the petition including the Speaker, the 11 PSC members and the Secretary General of Parliament.

Speaker Rajapaksa last month asserted the supremacy of the Legislature and said neither he nor the members of Parliament have to recognise orders by the courts.

Noting that the Court was conscious of the ruling by the Speaker about the notice issued by the Appeals Court, the judges said the notice issued on the respondents was nothing but a legal obligation on the part of the courts to afford respondents an opportunity of being heard.

The case will be taken up again on 3 January 2012