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Request for BASL, C'wealth observers rejected

Request for BASL, C'wealth observers rejected

2012 Dec 05

The second appearance by Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayke, before the Parliamentary Select Committee yesterday resulted in the entire area around the Parliament complex, in Kotte, being cordoned off and declared out of bounds for the media.

The Chief Justice arrived at the Parliament accompanied by seven lawyers around 10.10 a.m. and was escorted to the Committee room where the PSC began its proceedings at 10.30 a.m.

A group of protestors holding up posters with the words "Shame Madam!" had lined up along the Parliament roundabout and a large number of Police as well as some army personnel had been deployed for security.

Unlike during her previous appearance before the committee, journalists covering Parliament were strictly prohibited from entering the area where the Committee was in progress as well as lingering along the corridors.

During the pre-lunch sessions, which were held up to around 1.15 p.m. lawyers for the Chief Justice requested that a team of observers from the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) and the Commonwealth be allowed to observe the committee proceedings. However, the request was rejected.

Her lawyers also noted, as they had done on the previous occasion, that documentary evidence of the charges made against the Chief Justice had not yet been made available to them.

Another request to summon all 117 MPs who signed the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice, before the Committee is under consideration.

Meanwhile, the four Opposition members of the Committee said that they had requested the Speaker to adjourn sittings of the Committee for one month from Dec. 8 to January 8, when Parliament sessions for the year are to end after the Budget is passed.

They also said there was no clarity on the procedural progress of the PSC and that the Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe would raise the issue in Parliament this morning.

The post-lunch session of the PSC began around 2.30 p.m. with the Chief Justice’s lawyers returning after lunch while the Chief Justice arrived around 2.55 p.m.

The team of lawyers, who appeared for the Chief Justice included Romesh de Silva PC, Kandiah Neelakandan, Nalin Laduwahetty PC, Sugath Caldera, Riyaz Ameen, Iraj de Silva and Saliya Peiris.

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