Jan 11, 2013 (AFP) – Sri Lankan lawyers Friday urged judges to refuse to accept the appointment of a new chief justice ahead of a vote that is expected to see the incumbent impeached by lawmakers. The Lawyers’ Collective in letters to judges said a move by parliament to go ahead with a vote later Friday to remove Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake was illegal as two superior courts had already declared the process null and void.
Any replacement for the current chief justice would be a “usurper”, the lawyers said, urging other judges not to welcome a new appointee likely to be named after parliament votes to remove Bandaranayake.
President Mahinda Rajapakse is widely expected to confirm the impeachment of Bandaranayake, the country’s first woman chief justice, after Friday’s vote in parliament where he commands a two-thirds majority. Only an absolute majority is required for the move to be approved.
The move to sack the top judge has raised concerns for judicial independence in a country emerging from nearly four decades of ethnic war. The US has led international concern for due process in the island.
“Judges should refuse to accept an appointment of chief justice o