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SL parliament to impeach chief justice

World

Colombo - Sri Lanka's parliament voted to impeach the country's chief justice on Friday, disregarding rulings from the Supreme Court that the process was illegal and threatened judicial independence.

The parliament, dominated by a coalition headed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa's party, impeached Shirani Bandaranayake, Sri Lanka's first female chief justice, with 155 votes in favour, above the simple majority in the 225-member legislature.

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In this Friday, Dec. 28, 2012 photo, Sri Lankan Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake carries flowers to offer at a Buddhist temple in Kelaniya, on the outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka. A pro-government mob armed with clubs has attacked lawyers’ offices and bystanders near Sri Lanka’s main court complex on Thursday after being stopped by police from confronting participants in a protest against government efforts to impeach the country’s chief justice Shirani Bandaranayake. Lawyers, opposition politicians and activists began the protest march Thursday hours before Parliament was to debate a report that found Bandaranayake guilty of possession of unexplained wealth and misuse of power. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Her impeachment has stirred protests by lawyers, opposition lawmakers and religious leaders, prompted the United States and the United Nations to raise concern over judicial integrity in the South Asian state and could alarm foreign investors.

During a two-day debate, lawmakers disregarded rulings by the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal against the impeachment, after a parliamentary panel found Bandaranayake guilty of financial irregularities and failure to declare assets. - Reuters

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