TORONTO: Toronto-based Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) has condemned the impeachment of Sri Lankan Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake by lawmakers in Colombo.
After Sri Lankan parliament’s vote on Friday to impeach the chief justice on the ostensible grounds of ill-gotten wealth and misuse of power, the way has been paved for her dismissal by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The impeachment followed after a parliament committee last month said in its report that the chief justice accumulated illegal wealth and misused her power. But the chief justice says she was not heard by the committee and has denied any wrong-doing.
The parliamentary impeachment route taken by the government comes after the supreme court ruled that the parliament committee has no power to investigate the chief justice.
With the chief justice unlikely to step down, President Rajapaksa – who has assumed almost dicatatorial powers after wiping out the LTTE in 2009 – has (arrogated to himself) the power to fire her.
As Colombo’s move against the judiciary drew international condemnation, the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) called the impeachment an “illegal act.”
The CTC said the undermining of the judiciary will harm prospects for peace in the country.
“This impeachment is a deplorable move that undermines the independence of the judiciary, the rule of law and any semblance of democracy left in the island,” said David Poopalapillai, National Spokesperson for the Canadian Tamil Congress, in a statement.
He called upon the Canadian Parliament to follow the British Parliament’s recent debate on Sri Lanka, and to put Sri Lanka on notice that if democracy is not restored Canada will take decisive actions to express its concern.
There are more than 300,000 Sri Lankan Tamils in Canada – their largest population outside of Sri Lanka.