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Sri Lanka's first woman Chief Justice sacked

January 13, 2013 15:28 IST

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sunday sacked the country's first woman Chief Justice Shirani Bandarnayake after ratifying her impeachment by Parliament which held her guilty of corruption, notwithstanding widespread protests by lawyers and others.

54-year-old Bandaranayake was served a notice ordering her to quit her post, two days after the Parliament overwhelmingly voted to impeach her deepening a standoff between the judiciary and the government.

The notice was served on the Chief Justice "informing her of the removal from the post," officials were quoted as saying by local media.

The impeachment of Bandaranayake had earlier been ruled as unconstitutional by courts and a finding by the Parliamentary committee that found her "guilty" had been quashed.

The impeachment of the Chief Justice went ahead despite calls by rights groups, citizens, clergy and lawyers who asked the government not to do so.

The Parliamentary committee on December 8, 2012, had ruled that Bandaranayake was guilty of three of the 14 charges in the impeachment proceedings against her moved by the ruling UPFA coalition legislators.

The three charges were of financial impropriety based on non-declaration of assets and conflict of interest in a case involving a failed investment company.

Bandaranayake denied all the charges against her. On December 6, she stormed out of the impeachment hearing in Parliament, saying she would not be given a fair trial.

She also claimed verbal abuse by the government members of the parliamentary committee.

On Friday, the Parliament voted 155 to 49 to dismiss Bandaranayake, whose recent rulings had gone against the government.

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