Sri Lankan President appoints Tamil as Chief Justice

Sri Lanka on Friday appointed Justice K Sripavan, an ethnic-Tamil, its new Chief Justice, days after his predecessor Mohan Peiris was asked to resign following an uproar in the parliament over allegations he tried to help the former president retain power illegally.

Justice Sripavan, 63, took oath as the 44th Chief Justice before President Maithripala Sirisena, the President’s office said in a statement.

Mr. Sripavan replaces Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, who resigned on Thursday, only a day after she was reinstated to the position by Sirisena government.

Ms. Bandaranayke, Lanka’s first woman chief judge, was unceremoniously removed from the Supreme Court in January 2013 by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Her restoration came following a letter sent to the then Chief Justice Peiris by Sirisena which stated that his appointment was illegal as Ms. Bandaranayake had been sacked under a flawed process.

Justice Peiris was also under growing pressure to stand down from the country’s Bar Council following allegations that he tried to help Mr. Rajapaksa to stage a coup to retain power after his defeat in the presidential polls earlier this month.

Mr. Sirisena, the joint opposition challenger to Mr Rajapaksa in the presidential election, had pledged to restore Ms. Bandaranayake in the manifesto.

The Opposition demanded a debate on the sacking of Peiris, but the government said it could be allowed only next week.

Vehement protests by the opposition had forced the suspension of sittings twice, following a statement from the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Peiris’ removal from office.

Sripavan belongs to the country’s ethnic Tamil-minority.

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Printable version | May 21, 2020 8:26:03 AM |

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