COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court judgements where a Chief Justice whose appointment was declared void by the country’s president will stand, as defects in appointing a judge did not make decisions void, lawyers said.
Mohan Peiris acted as Chief Justice after Shirani Bandaranayake, who was the first woman appointed to the post in Sri Lanka was controversially impeached by the Rajapaksa regime for giving judgements against the administration.
On Wednesday Bandaranayake was re-instated by newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena, lawyers said.
Lawyers said according to Sri Lanka’s constitution even if there were defects in the appointment of a judge, decisions made with his involvment would stand.
Section 119. (2) of Sri Lanka’s constitution says: The Supreme Court shall have the power to act notwithstanding any vacancy in its membership, and no act or proceeding of the Court shall be, or shall be deemed to be, invalid by reason only of any such vacancy or any defect in the appointment of a Judge.
Peiris also sat in a bench with at least two other judges which also helped to allow the decisions to stand, lawyers said.
However he also sat on a bench where the controversial impeachment of Bandaranayake was validated.
Bandaranayake who arrived at Sri Lanka’s main court complex in the capital Colombo Wednesday was welcomed by lawyers with flowers who said she had been informed by President Maithripala Sirisena that she was never legally removed.
She is to formally retire tomorrow, Bar Association of Sri Lanka President Upul Jayasuriya said.
Lawyers said a controversial impeachment of Bandaranayake was not valid as the proper procedure has not been followed by Sri Lanka legislators.
The parliament has to vote on a motion to remove the Chief Justice after an inquiry by a select committee. But the document itself that was passed, despite protests from the opposition was one relating to appointing a select committee.
Sri Lanka’s speaker who presided on the occasion was ousted President Rajapaksa’s brother Chamal.
Bandaranayake herself protested that natural justice was denied to her during the inquiry.
Lawyers said since Bandaranayake was not removed there was no vacancy for Peiris to take office.
Sri Lanka’s Bar Association said they would hold a farewell for Bandaranayake Thursday.
Justice K Sripavan is tipped to be the next Chief Justice.