The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) yesterday refused permission to the Sri Lanka Bar Association or the Commonwealth to observe its proceedings when probing charges against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, informed sources said yesterday.
The Chief Justice, accompanied by her lawyers Romesh de Silva PC, Nalin Ladduwahetti PC, Iraj de Silva, Saliya Peiris, K. Neelakandan, R. Ameen and Sugath Kaldera, appeared before the PSC for the second time yesterday.
Strict security measures were in place in and around the parliamentary complex in view of the arrival of the Chief Justice.
It is learnt that Romesh de Silva PC had asked for observer status in the PSC for interested parties such as the Bar Association of Sri Lanka. However, it had been rejected by PSC Chairman and Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. The four opposition members also spoke in support of the Chief Justice’s lawyers on this issue. The proceedings began at 10.30 am. The sittings were suspended at 1.00 pm for lunch.
The PSC Chairman even offered lunch at the parliamentary complex for the Chief Justice and her lawyers but she refused to have her lunch inside Parliament. After the lunch break, she returned to the parliament complex at 2.45 p.m. Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms Kushan Subasinghe had been assigned to receive her at the entrance to the complex. Unlike the last time, police officers on duty saluted her this time.
The Chief Justice’s lawyers also raised concerns over the failure on the part of the PSC to submit documentary evidence on the 14 charges against her.
Meanwhile, the main opposition UNP is to make a statement in Parliament today about the way forward for the PSC.
Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga said his party would like to know the criteria for future proceedings of the Select Committee. (Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera)