14 Jan 2013

Sri Lanka president dismisses chief justice

8:14 am on 14 January 2013

Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse has signed an order dismissing the country's first woman chief justice, a move that could trigger a constitutional crisis.

Two days ago, parliament voted to impeach Shirani Bandaranayake on suspicion of corruption - an allegation she denies.

The BBC reports there is now a possibility that the judge may refuse to quit, as Sri Lanka's Supreme Court and Appeal Court last month quashed the impeachment process as irregular and illegal.

Lawyers close to the country's first woman chief justice confirmed that she had received the presidential notice, but Dr Bandaranayake has so far not commented on the latest development.

The 5-year-old judge faced a parliamentary committee in November which investigated 14 charges of financial and official misconduct against her.

She was found guilty of professional misconduct the following month.