Sri Lanka begins impeachment of chief justice

Sri Lanka begins impeachment of chief justice

Sri Lanka begins impeachment of chief justice

Posted 7 November 2012, 22:44 AEST

The formal impeachment of Sri Lanka's chief justice Dr Shirani Bandranayake has begun in parliament.

Dr Bandranayake, who was appointed by under president Mahinda Rajapakse in May 2011, is facing 14 charges, including failure to disclose her income and misusing her position.

The government has said due process will be followed, but Lakshman Kiriella, the senior vice president of the opposition United National Party, told Radio Australia's Asia Pacific program said the impeachment case reflects the lack of rule of law in Sri Lanka.

The Reuters news agency explained that relations between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake have been deteriorating over recent months with the judiciary complaining of interference and the government complaining she had over-stepped her authority.

On Tuesday, the speaker of Sri Lanka's parliament, Chamal Rajapaksa, accepted a ruling party motion to impeach the chief justice for improper conduct.

He will now appoint a select committee made up of at least seven members to look into the charges against Dr Bandaranayake.

President Rajapaksa and his allies control more than two-thirds of the 225-member parliament, and Dr Bandaranayake could be removed with a simple majority of 113 votes