Subsequent to President Maithripala Sirisena’s recommendation that the appointment of Mohan Peiris as the Chief Justice was null and void, President’s Counsel Mohan Peiris was expecting to bring the issue through the Parliament and create a public opinion, sources close to Mr. Peiris said yesterday.
In a letter sent by Secretary to President P.B. Abeykoon on January 28 to Mohan Peiris PC, Mr. Peiris was informed that his appointment was null and void from its inception.
Sources said since the act of an incumbent President cannot be challenge before Court, Mr. Peiris was expecting to bring the issue before Parliament.
“The President has acted in an irresponsible manner in contrary to the law. This issue could also bring an impeachment against the President,” the source said.
Meanwhile, issuing a statement to media Mr. Peiris said that he found himself displaced from office by an unconstitutional process having functioned continuously in his appointment for over two years.
“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,” Mr. Peiris stated.
He stated that he 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 stated the Parliament deliberated on the report of the Parliamentary Select Committee that had found Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake guilty of some of the charges.
He said that report had been duly tabled in Parliament on December 08, 2012 and all the members were furnished with copies of the same. Further the procedure as set out in the Constitution and the Standing Orders was duly followed.
He stated that former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake was removed by an order of the then President and he was appointed by a warrant to the post of Chief Justice on January 15, 2013 with the concurrence of the Parliamentary Council which comprises of Government and Opposition Members.
“It appears 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 me 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 stated.
However, the letter sent by Presidential Secretary P.B. Abeykoon to Mr. Peiris stated that a resolution within the definition of Article 107 was not passed by Parliament on January 11 and therefore the appointment dated January, 15 2013 of President’s Counsel Peiris to the office of Chief Justice was null and void.(Lakmal Sooriyagoda)