JO members conducting mock session in Parliament:
Deputy Minister urges Chair to hold inquiry
Power and Renewable Energy Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera moving a privilege issue in Parliament yesterday urged the Chair to hold an inquiry into behaviour of a group of Joint Opposition(JO) members on July 28, 2017 that allegedly degraded the dignity of the Parliament.
Deputy Minister Perera moving the issue stated that the group of Joint Opposition members’ conducting of a mock session affected the dignity of Parliament and JO MP Ranjith de Zoysa also made a statement to the media that they did so deliberately to ridicule the Parliament. He urged Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to hold an investigation into this incident and report to which the latter said that he would direct the matter before the Privilege Committee. Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera moving the privilege issue said that on July 28, the Speaker had to adjourn the sittings as the Joint Opposition members interrupted the sittings by storming into the well of the House.
He stated that a group of Joint Opposition members remained in the main chamber and MP Priyankara Jayaratne sat in the chair of the Speaker and MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage sat in the seat of the Secretary General rang the quorum bell.
“MP Kumara Welgama and Gamini Lokuge sat on the seats of the Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General respectively,” Deputy Minister Perera said. “Later on Ranjith de Zoysa making a statement to the media said that they did it deliberately to ridicule the House,” he added.
Deputy Minister Ajith P Perera said that this type of behaviour by the group of Joint Opposition members was a grave violation of the Privilege Act. He also requested that an inquiry be hold and a report be submitted to Parliament.
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya observed that he would direct the matter before the Privilege Committee.
At this stage, Joint Opposition Parliamentary Group leader Dinesh Gunawardene said no action can be taken against any MP as the incidents took place after the session was suspended on that day.
“Action could be taken against MPs if they misbehave during Parliament sessions as per the Standing Orders” MP Gunawardene said.
Leader of the House and Minister Lakshman Kiriella said that the Mace was there in the House when this incident happened. The Speaker too said that the Mace was there in the House. He also said that it could be observed in the video recording at the Privilege Committee.
Govt. repeals two legislations under Judicature Act
The Government yesterday, repealed the Code of Criminal Procedure (Special Provisions) (Amendment) Bill and Regulations under the Judicature Act.
Leader of the House and Minister Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament that the two pieces of legislation would be withdrawn.
The Bill to amend the Code of Criminal Procedure (Special Provisions) Act was presented on May 25, to make provisions to ensure the rights of an Attorney-at-Law who represents a person held in police custody.
Regulations under the Judicature Act states that all prosecutions, proceedings or matters in respect of offences under the Atomic Energy Act must be taken up only in the Colombo High Court.
Both legislations come under the purview of Justice Minister Dr Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.
Samurdhi allowance will not be slashed:SB
The Minister of Social Empowerment S B Dissanayake, assured that the Samurdhi allowance would not be slashed.
He made this observation yesterday, responding to a question raised by Joint Opposition Parliamentary Group Leader Dinesh Gunawardena on Thursday, with regard to matters which drove the House into chaos on Thursday.
"The Government has decided to adopt a multi dimensional poverty survey to select Samurdhi recipients. Under this system, marks would be given to all potential recipients. Marks are given for the properties they own and the level of education of children. Accordingly, recipients who own less than 10 cows, 20 goats, 50 cockerels and who does not have appliances such as TVs and radios, would get more marks," the minister said. This he said, is a globally accepted system.
Deputy Minister Nimal Lansa said government should not create a mess with slashing the Samurdhi allowance.
He said the Samurdhi allowance of families which consist of a child who has passed the Ordinary Level Examination should not be cut.
Minister Dissanayake said the government would not cut the Samurdhi allowance of families who had a child who has passed the Ordinary Level Examination. He added that only one mark of the 100 would be cut if there was a child who has passed the O/L examination.
'Why were not former CB Governor and sister summoned before PCoI'?
The UNP backbenchers yesterday, questioned as to why former Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal or his sister Shiromi Wickremasinghe were not yet summoned before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry(PCoI) on the bond issue.
UNP MP Prof. Ashu Marasinghe speaking at the Parliamentary debate yesterday, pointed out that the PCoI would need the help of informed advisors as it has so far failed to summon the most relevant witnesses.
Cabraal’s sister Shiromi Wickremesinghe was a director at Perpetual Treasuries Ltd. The names of former CB Governor Cabraal and his sister have also been implicated in the Treasury bonds allegations.
UNP MP Nalin Bandara bolstering Marasinghe’s position, said former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was the Finance Minister when the PTL was set up, should also be summoned before the PCoI if former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake was summoned.
“Those in the AG Department have not been able to verify the signature of the former Defence Minister for two long years.
How can we believe in their competency to handle these investigations? A large number of files have been sent to the AG's Department after the completion of investigations. The AG's Department should expedite investigations into them,” Prof Marasinghe charged.
“We urge the Attorney General’s Department to do justice in their investigations. If not, they would fail to deliver what people expect from them,” the MP added.