LEGAL ACTION AGAINST 59 ERRANT parliamentarians | Daily News



The Parliamentary Committee that investigated unruly incidents in the Chamber on November 14, 15 and 16 has observed that the immunities and privileges of MPs do not obstruct taking legal action against MPs misbehaviour in the House.

The report of the six-member committee chaired by Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri had recommended taking action against 59 MPs (54 UPFA MPs, four UNP MPs and 1 JVP MP) who were found to have misbehaved in the Chamber.

Senior Deputy Solicitor General Rohantha Abeysuriya who represented the Attorney General’s Department had told the Committee that either Parliament or the Supreme Court could impose punishment to the offenders.

The maximum punishment that Parliament can impose is the suspension of the Parliamentary service, while only the Supreme Court can impose penalties with regard to the offences.

The Committee in the report emphasised the need to expeditiously continue investigations conducted by the CID and thereafter institute judicial proceedings upon the advice of the Attorney General.

The report observed that the provision in the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act which says, “There shall be freedom of speech, debate and proceeding in Parliament and such freedom of speech, debate or proceedings shall not be liable to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament” is an idea related to speech and debate and that does not mean any other physical or verbal activity.

“Activities such as approaching the Speaker’s chair, accusing and intimidating the speaker are not in conformity with the ‘Gentlemanly Behaviour’ expected from the MPs.

Throwing objects into the Speaker’s chair and damaging equipment can be considered an inestimable blemish to the reputation of Parliament, notwithstanding of the financial loss incurred.Such activities cannot be justified under any circumstances,” the report stressed.

The Senior Deputy Solicitor General had explained to the Committee that: “it is by taking action under civil laws or under the provisions of the Civil Procedure Code that deterrent punishments, which may have a greater impact on the offender, can be imposed”.

The report says the cost assessment to restore all the equipment and appliances damaged inside the House was Rs. 325,000 as per the valuation report submitted by the Chief Valuer.

UPFA MPs S.B. Dissanayake, Prasanna Ranaweera, Piyal Nishantha, Padma Udayashantha Gunasekara, Dilan Perera, Dinesh Gunawardena, Lohan Rathwaththe, Jayantha Samaraweera, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Thilanga Sumathipala, Johnston Fernando, Dilum Amunugama, Indika Anurudda Herath, Sisira Jayakody, Susantha Punchinilame, T. Ranjith de Zoysa, Kanchana Wijesekara, S.M. Chandrasena, DV Chanaka, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Arundhika Fernando, Dullas Alahapperuma, Shehan Semasinghe, Thenuka Vidanagamage, Anuradha Jayaratne, Sarathie Dushmantha, Sanath Nishantha Perera, Kanaka Herath, Udaya Prabhath Gammanpila, Tharanath Basnayake, Nimal Lanza, Dr Sudarshini Fernandopulle, Pavithra Devi Wanniarachchi, Janaka Bandara Tennakoon, Dr Ramesh Pathirana, Vijitha Berugoda, Mohan Priyadarshana De Silva, Roshan Ranasinghe, Piyal Nishanatha De Silva, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Piyankara Jayaratne, C. B. Rathnayake, T.B. Ekanayake, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Tharaka Balasuriya, Lakshman Wasantha Perera, Janaka Wakkumbura, Bandula Gunawardena, S.Premarathna, Nishantha Muthuhettigamage, Premalal Jayasekara, Dulip Wijesekara and Nishantha Muthuhettigamage have been mentioned in the report.

UNP MPs Ananda Aluthgamage (recently crossed over to the Opposition), Thushara Indunil Amarasena, Palitha Thevarapperuma, Chandima Gamage and Ranjan Ramanayaka have been mentioned in the report while the name of JVP MP Vijitha Herath has been included for walking towards the Speaker.

Deputy Speaker taking the floor of the House urged the Speaker to take “appropriate action” after referring the report to the Privileges Committee to prevent recurrence of such indecent incidents in the chamber. “We are constantly being questioned on the progress of the investigations. Sixteen civil society organizations and activists had lodged a Police complaint,” he added.





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