Tamil Diplomat

BASL on the nullity of removal of Shirani and Mohan’s appointment as CJ

Bar Association of Sri Lanka has satetd that it is its unwavering position that the removal of Shirani Bandaranayake from the CJ’s post and the appointment of Mohan Peiris are both nullity in law.

The BASL, in a statement released on Friday, said:

“In this connection, it should be noted that, although in terms of Article 107 (2) of the Constitution, the President can remove a Chief Justice only following both a Resolution moving for the presentation of an Address of Parliament and, thereafter, an Address of Parliament presented to the President for such removal, there was neither such a Resolution moving for the presentation of an Address of Parliament nor an Address of Parliament presented to the President for such removal, prior to the purported removal of Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake from the Office of Chief Justice. Therefore, the purported removal of Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake from the Office of Chief Justice was an absolute nullity and the purported appointment of Mr. Mohan Peiris, PC was consequently, an absolute nullity.

Although in November 2012, there was a Motion presented to Parliament to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee PSC to investigate allegations against Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake and the PSC issued a Report in December 2012, the Court of Appeal quashed this Report of the PSC on 07th January 2013.

Thereafter, on 10th January 2013, a second Motion was passed by Parliament which, in effect, sought to appoint a PSC to investigate allegations against Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake and the then President purported to remove her from the Office of Chief Justice on the strength of this second Motion only.

Thus, the mandatory steps required by Article 107 (2) were not complied with and there was no Resolution or Address of Parliament, made to request the President to remove Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake from the Office of Chief Justice.

“Therefore, the purported removal of Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake from the Office of Chief Justice was an absolute nullity and had no effect in Law and, consequently, the purported appointment of Mr. Mohan Pieris, PC was also an absolute nullity. The BASL has consistently maintained that Mr. Mohan Pieris, PC was merely a de facto Chief Justice, or simply put, a person who was acting as a Chief Justice and not the de jure or ‘legal’ Chief Justice.

The position of the BASL has been vindicated by the recent action of the Government which, having recognized the illegality and unconstitutionality of the purported removal of Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake and the subsequent purported appointment of Mr. Mohan Peiris, PC has rectified the position.”