Sri Lanka's top judge asked to appear for impeachment process

Sri Lanka's top judge was today asked by the Parliament to appear before it for an impeachment hearing on Friday after rejecting her appeal for more time to prepare for her case.

An 11-member parliamentary select committee summoned Shirani Bandaranayake, 54, to appear before them on November 23. The 14-point impeachment motion accuses her of personal and professional misconduct and seeks her removal from office.

The issue figured in today's parliamentary proceedings too. The main opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told the Parliament that Bandaranayake must be made available during the process of impeachment and all legal procedures which are part of any normal litigation.

The senior minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, who is a member of the government side at the impeachment process, said that the government had no intention of changing any parliamentary standing orders to suit the impeachment.

The motion which came in as a result of a months long dispute between the government and the chief justice has come in for condemnation by US, Commonwealth and international rights watch groups as action undermining the independence of judiciary. Meanwhile, a civil society activist, Chandra Jayaratne, filed a petition in Appeals Court demanding a writ against the motion tabled in the Parliament.

Jayaratne has claimed that the motion was an attack on the independence of the island's judiciary. Bandaranayake has denied all allegations levelled against her by the government.

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