Mohan Peiris says his removal as CJ was ‘unlawful’

Mohan Peiris says his removal as CJ was ‘unlawful’

January 31, 2015   12:50 pm

Mohan Peiris says that he has not retired, resigned or vacated the office of Chief Justice and that, however, due to exertions by external forces he has been displaced from office through an “unconstitutional process.”

“I have not retired, resigned or vacated my office of Chief Justice, but, due to exertions by external forces reinforced by an extra judicial chain of events, find myself displaced from office by an unconstitutional process having functioned continuously in my appointment for over two years.”

“There are times when might overtakes right and the helpless have to succumb to injustice,” he said, in a statement issued today.

Justice K. Sripavan yesterday (30) took oaths as the 44th Chief Justice of Sri Lanka before President Maithripala Sirisena, replacing Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake who retired just a day after being reinstated in the position.

Dr. Bandaranayake, who was impeached by Parliament in 2013, retired from service on Thursday (29), after the resumption of office the previous day as the Chief Justice, the post held by Mohan Peiris.

“I abhor and despise and do not encourage the enactment of street dramas or of invoking vengeance by resorting to horrific practices of the occult or encourage rabble rousing on pavements by a few members of the legal fraternity with their storm troopers or rouse the judiciary to come to the assistance of an affected Judicial Officer, as witnessed in the recent past.”

“Offering patronage to such events demeans the office of the Chief Justice. It promotes division or dissension within the Bar for selfish returns,” Mr. Peiris said.

“I look upon myself as a Chief Justice and a citizen, who was empowered to carry out the solemn duty of ensuring the sovereignty of the people in the midst of great institutions such as the Judiciary and the Bar. These Institutions must retain their dignity perennially - not for a passing hour or a day of glory and must not descend to a pedestrian level,” he said.

The former Attorney General pointed out that he was appointed to the post of Chief Justice after his predecessor was removed by the required Parliamentary majority (155 to 49). “This Ruling is final and conclusive and those who exercised their vote on the same are debarred from contesting its validity.”

Thereafter the former Chief Justice was removed by an order of the then President and Mohan Peiris was appointed by a warrant to the post of Chief Justice on January 15,2013, with the concurrence of the Parliamentary Council.

“It is significant that Hon Rajitha Senaratne was a member of panel of inquiry that probed the charges against Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake and found her unanimously guilty with the other members on some charges and acquitted on others and The Hon President Maithripala Sirisena spoke and voted in favour of the removal of the former Chief Justice.”

“This is quite contrary to the position taken up now that my appointment was purportedly void ab initio. I am saddened that this machination comes after attempts to coerce me and later intimidate me into stepping down,” he said.  

“It must be noted that I could only have been removed from Office in terms of the specific provisions contained in Article 107 (2) of the Constitution after an address of Parliament.”

Mr. Peiris further said that the Executive has now sought to arrogate to itself a non existent power by usurping the power of the legislature and thus engage itself in an “unconstitutional process” in an endeavour to remove him as the Chief Justice.

“This is unlawful and violates the principle of the separation of powers which is a fundamental feature of our Constitution and renders the exercise futile. As such all consequential acts will be tainted with illegality,” he said.


Statement issued by Mohan Peiris



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