UNP glad to join PSC probe against CJ


by Shamindra Ferdinando

The UNP yesterday said that it would gladly join the proposed special Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to inquire into allegations against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake.

Deputy Secretary General of the UNP, Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena, MP, yesterday told The Island that the main Opposition party would definitely want to join the inquiry. Asked whether he was speaking for the party, Dr. Jayawardena said that the decision making Working Committee on Tuesday evening had decided that the UNP should be represented in the PSC.

The UNPer challenged the government to initiate the impeachment process by getting the parliamentary group to hand over its petition against the CJ to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa without further delay. Jayawardena said that the PSC couldn’t be appointed until the Speaker received the petition.

The government couldn’t afford to further delay initiating action targeting the CJ, the MP said. Responding to a query, he said that the PSC would give the government as well as the Opposition an opportunity to discuss the issue.

During a live political debate on Swarnavahini on Tuesday night, Deputy Education Minister Vijith Vijithamuni Soysa, MP, revealed that he had already signed the petition. The Moneragala district MP declared that the government would impeach the CJ. He said so when urged by Jayawardena to reveal the UPFA position on the Chief Justice

Dr. Jayawardena alleged that the UPFA’s two thirds majority in parliament had been achieved through illegal means by bribing members of other political parties to switch their allegiance for perks and privileges. That majority was now being used against all those who opposed Rajapaksas’ dictatorial tendencies.

Jayawardena said that the so-called UPFA’s two-thirds majority was a joke.

Ministerial sources told The Island yesterday that once the Speaker received the petition, he would call for a party leaders meeting to decide on the PSC. Sources said that the proposed PSC would consist of seven, nine or 11 members representing major political parties represented in parliament.

When pointed out that Leader of the House Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva had assured the media on Oct. 10, 2012 that the CJ wouldn’t be impeached, sources said that the decision to move against the CJ had been taken subsequently. At that time the UPFA had felt that contentious issues could be resolved amicably, though subsequent developments necessitated different course of action, the sources said.

 The impeachment motion against the Chief Justice would be handed over to the Speaker today, Government sources said last night.

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