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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Opposition walks out of House protesting against PSC proceedings

All members in the Opposition walked out of the House in protest yesterday against what they alleged was the unjust process of the Parliamentary Select Committee, probing the charges mentioned in the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake.
The MPs of UNP, DNA and the TNA walked out of the Chamber around 3.35 p.m. while the government rankers shouted that they were acting according to a plot hatched outside Parliament.

DNA MP Vijitha Herath, who addressed the House, before the Opposition MPs’ walk out during the third reading stage debate on the defence ministry, said that all democrats must condemn the PSC’s ex-parte process. He said: “The national security of the country was at stake when there was no independent judiciary.The Parliamentary Select Committee has become useless and shabbily treated the highest in the judicial system. The Government, capitalising on its two-thirds majority secured through political manoevring but nit with a popular mandate was now exerting pressure on the judiciary and this must be condemned.”

UPFA MP Arundika Fernando raised a point of order that it was the Defence Ministry heading and MP Herath was talking about some other issues. He said: “There is a plot hatched outside this chamber to stage a demonstration. This speech is part of that. I request the Chair not to allow this MP to continue talking on issues outside the matter at hand. That is against Standing Orders.”

Herath said that when an MP had a smaller brain and a large body he could not understand what others were talking about and insisted that he was talking about security issues.

The government MPs, especially the back benchers, got up from their seats and started shouting at this stage, while the presiding member, Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody, tried to bring the situation under control.

UNP Kurunegala District MP Dayasiri Jayasekera, raising a point or order, said that it was against the Standing Orders for members to shout while a member was addressing the House and requested the Deputy Speaker to order MPs to take their seats.

Coconut Development Minister Jagath Pushpakumara was seen thumping his desk and shouting while his junior colleagues were shouting that the JVPers were killers.

As the Deputy Speaker got the House to stop shouting, Minister of Prisons and Prisons Reforms Chandrasiri Gajadeera raised a point of order and said MP Herath was violating the Standing Orders by deviating from the topic.

MP Sujeewa Senasinghe raised a point of order and referred to Standing Order Clause 85 that the House must remain silent when a member spoke.

Herath was continuing his speech while MPs of both sides were trading verbal abuse.

Suddenly, around 3.35 p.m. Herath said that the Opposition would walk out of the Chamber in protest against what he called the PSC’s intention of hearing the Chief Justice’s case ex parte.

Soon after the Opposition Members walked out Minister John Seneviratne got up and said what the Opposition was working according to a secret plan or bring Parliament into disrepute.
by Saman Indrajith


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