Ranjan’s Seat falls vacant | Daily News
National Election Commission informed:

Ranjan’s Seat falls vacant

Speaker makes announcement in House:

The Election Commission was informed that the Parliamentary Seat of MP Ranjan Ramanayake has been rendered vacant, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena informed the House yesterday (07).

The Secretary General of Parliament had informed the Chairman of the National Election Commission that Ranjan Ramanayake had ceased to be a Member of Parliament and accordingly there is a vacant Seat in Parliament with respect to the electoral district of Gampaha in terms of the Article 66 (d) of the Constitution, the Speaker announced.

This notice has been issued by the Secretary General of Parliament in terms of Section 64 (01) of the Parliamentary Elections Act No. 01 of 1981. Following the announcement, a heated argument broke out between the Opposition and the Ruling party regarding the decision given on MP Ranjan Ramanayake who is presently imprisoned on a charge of Contempt of Court.

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa pointed out that the Speaker should have first made the announcement to the House before sending the letter to the Election Commission. Premadasa questioned as to why the letter was sent in a hurry, and why the House was informed about it only later. At this juncture, State Minister Nimal Lanza said the Opposition Leader should not be wasting time trying to argue about the ruling given by the Speaker of the House regarding Ramanayake.

“Both announcements regarding this case were done by the Speaker in accordance with the Constitution. What is the point of arguing about it once again ? Why waste the time of this House,?” Lanza said.

Following State Minister Lanza’s Point of Order, Opposition MP Nalin Bandara questioned the Speaker if the ruling on Ramanayake was given based on his absence in the Chamber. However, the Speaker denied the allegation. “There was no such thing. The ruling is already given and now there is no use of bringing it up again,” Speaker Abeywardena told MP Bandara.

The Opposition MPs kept protesting against the announcement made by the Speaker and throwing verbal punches at the Government MPs who expressed their displeasure against the Opposition’s conduct.

Leader of the House Minister Dinesh Gunawardena then stood up to request the Speaker to continue with the affairs of the House. However, several Opposition MPs kept interrupting the House affairs while standing in the middle of the Chamber. Speaker Abeywardena instructed the said MPs to go back to their seats while pointing out that causing a commotion is only a waste of time.

Speaker Abeywardena then requested State Minister Arundika Fernando to make a statement as the agenda permits. However, Fernando was not able to carry on his speech due to the interruptions made by the Opposition MPs. At this point, the microphone was given to the Opposition MP Nalin Bandara and he requested the House to give the due time allotted to the Opposition Leader to talk about Ramanayake’s matter.

“As you all know, the role of an Opposition Leader is very important. The time allotted to him should be used. If you can allow Lanza to speak, why can’t you allow the Opposition Leader to speak? You cannot give him five minutes to talk and give us only a minute. We would like to request the Speaker to discontinue his ruling on MP Ramanayake. We believe it to be incorrect. You did not allow us to request leave of absence for MP Ramanayake and you take a decision like this,” MP Nalin Bandara said.

The Speaker then requested the State Minister Arundika Fernando to continue with his statement.

Meanwhile Speaker of the House, issuing a statement, denied all the allegations leveled against him by the Opposition concerning his decision on MP Ranjan Ramanayake.

The statement said that the Opposition is trying to create a wrong opinion among the people regarding the decision taken on Ramanayake’s Parliamentary Seat.

The statement said: “The Opposition alleges that under Article 66 (e) of the Constitution, MP Ramanayake’s seat has been revoked. According to that article, a Member of Parliament is suspended for failing to attend sittings of Parliament for three consecutive months without the prior permission of Parliament. However, Speaker Abeywardena pointed out that Ranjan Ramanayake’s Parliamentary Seat was revoked in accordance with Article 66 (d) of the Constitution. According to that Article, a Member of Parliament shall be disqualified if he becomes disqualified in any way referred to in Article 89 or Article 91.”

The Speaker pointed out that hence the opinion that the Opposition is trying to popularize is completely wrong and such false impressions are completely rejected by him.