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Statement  on  judgements  by  Court  of  Appeal  and  Supreme  Court  on   impeachment  process  of  Chief  Justice  
    8  January  2013,  Colombo,  Sri  Lanka:  The  Centre  for  Policy  Alternatives  (CPA)  welcomes  the  judgment  of   the   Court   of   Appeal   quashing   the   decision   of   the   majority   of   members   of   the   Select   Committee   of   Parliament   delivered   on   7th   January   2011,   and   the   determination   of   the   Supreme   Court   issued   last   week   in   respect   of   the   question   of   constitutional   interpretation   referred   to   it   by   the   Court   of   Appeal.   The   determination   of   the   Supreme   Court   held   that   the   investigation   and   proof   of   charges   brought   against   a   judge   in   an   impeachment   motion   must   be   exercised   by   a   body   established   by   an   Act   of   Parliament,  and  not  by  one  established  by  Standing  Orders  of  Parliament.  The  Court  further  held  that   matters   concerning   the   mode   of   proof,   burden   of   proof   and   standard   of   proof   relating   to   the   charges   in   an  impeachment  motion  must  also  be  specified  by  legislation.       The   Court’s   robust   defense   of   the   “immutable   Republican   principle   of   the   independence   of   the   judiciary,”  and  its  reiteration  of  the  fundamental  importance  of  the  rule  of  law  underpin  its  interpretive   arguments.    For  this  reason,  the  determination  represents  an  important  precedent  for  the  supremacy  of   constitutional  values  over  claims  of  parliamentary  immunity.  Moreover,  by  asserting  the  jurisdiction  to   review   the   legality   of   Standing   Orders   that   affect   the   rights   of   citizens,   the   determination   decisively   rejects  the  notion  that  Parliament  is  supreme.  The  idea  of  parliamentary  supremacy  is  as  much  colonial   –   being   a   feature   of   English   constitutional   law   –   as   it   is   obsolete.   The   Court’s   determination,   which   emphasizes   the   sovereignty   of   the   people   and   the   supremacy   of   the   constitution,   is   an   important   judicial  reminder  that  the  plausibility  of  constitutional  arguments  must  be  judged  by  reference  to  first   principles   of   constitutionalism,   and   not   inappropriate   invocations   of   unconstitutional   values   and   outdated  doctrines.       Of   more   immediate   relevance,   given   that   questions   over   the   legality   of   the   impeachment   process   against  the  Chief  Justice  have  now  been  settled  definitively  by  the  Supreme  Court  and  Court  of  Appeal,   it  is  imperative  that  all  parties  concerned  comply  with  the  law.  Failure  to  do  so  will  not  only  be  in  open   contempt   of   court,   but   will   also   precipitate   a   dangerous   constitutional   crisis   that   the   country   can   ill   afford.  In  this  respect,  we  are  deeply  concerned  that  the  government  has  taken  steps  to  hold  a  debate   on   the   Resolution   against   the   Chief   Justice.   We   express   our   sincere   hope   that   the   rule   of   law   will   prevail,  and  that  judicial  determinations  will  be  fully  complied  with.      

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