[PARLIAMENT - (22-Oct-2015)] | Daily News

[PARLIAMENT - (22-Oct-2015)]

Ravi demands Bandula's resignation over name problem

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday, suspended Parliament sittings for 5 minutes following a tense situation which erupted over a statement by UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardena with reference to Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake. Minister Karunanayake rising to a personal clarification, said that his name was cited wrongly by the MP during the debate in the House on Tuesday. Referring to Gunawardena's remarks, the Minister said that he accepted the challenge of the MP and asked him to resign from his post immediately as said on the previous day.

Karunanayake observed that Gunawardena was deliberately targeting him due to political hyprocrasy. "MP Gunawardena in a statement referred to me as 'Karunanayake Ravindra Sandresh Ganeshan'. Later on, he shamelessly admitted that it was incorrect and he got confused with my name with that of Mano Ganeshan. This is not the first time that he has tarnished my political image. He said he would resign if he was proven wrong. If he is an MP who sticks to his word, he should resign now," he said. Backbenchers from the government side while thumping on their desks, started shouting at MP Gunawardena, demanding for his resignation.

MP Gunawardena stated that he had no intention of insulting Karunanayake, added that there was a confusion because of an error in the Hanzard.

"There is a difference in the English and Sinhala translations in the Hanzard. I corrected my mistake as soon as I got to know it," he said.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe intervening at this point, asked MP Gunawardena if the name had been printed as something like 'Gananath' instead of 'Ganesh' and whether he would still highlight it in the House. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya asked the MPs to be careful and avoid making similar mistakes in the future.

However, Karunanayake insisted that MP Gunawardena resign.

"Ethnicity had never been a problem to me. I always protect the Sri Lankan identity.

There is a limit to my flexibility too. It the MP has some sort of self dignity, he should resign," he said. At this point, Leader of the House and Minister, Lakshman Kiriella also insisted that the MP leave the chamber at least for a short time.

The MPs in the government side joined him in shouting at Gunawardena, demanding him to leave the chamber. A few MPs in the opposition stood by in support of Gunawardena. At this stage, the Speaker had to suspend the sittings for a short period to maintain the decorum of the House. When the House resumed at 2.35 MP, the matter was raised by the government MPs once again.

MP Gunawardena speaking at this point, once again expressed his grief over the mistake and stressed that it was not meant to insult anybody. As the House was turning in to a tensed situation again, the Speaker urged the support of the MPs of both sides to proceed with the business of the House.

"We spend Rs. 4.6 million of public money each day that we hold the sittings. Please do not waste public money. We still did not start the public business of the House and we have already wasted a lot of time. I allowed both sides to speak to be fair but do not think it as a weakness," he stressed and moved to the public business of the House.

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Govt permitted to move 17 orders under SCL Act for debate

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya ruling out objections of UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardena, permitted the Government to move 17 Orders under the Special Commodity Levy Act for debate in Parliament yesterday.

MP Dinesh Gunawardena stated that the Government had failed to get the approval of the House to move the Orders within the stipulated time frame, adding that thereby, the government had violated the Monetary Act as well as the provisions in the Constitution.

He pointed out the Speaker's ruling on Tuesday was with regard to the Bills, adding that it did not cover the Regulations.

"This is a serious issue. There are two cases pending before Court with regard to the matter. If the move by Parliament was challenged before Court, it would lead to a serious problem. The Government then may have to pay back the billions of money collected.

Parliament should follow the due procedure in presenting Legislations. It cannot go astray just because it has powers of financial control. Please pay heed to what I say," he stressed.

The Speaker however stated that his ruling on Tuesday also applied to the Orders scheduled for yesterday.

He added that the ruling was given after thorough consideration of all arguments and after legal consultation.

MP Gunawardena disagreeing to the Speaker's comment, stated that the ruling only applied to the Bills before Parliament on Tuesday.

Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake reinforcing the argument of Gunawardena, said the Speaker did only reffer to the Bills in his ruling, adding that he should pronounce whether it was valid for Order before Parliament.

"The MP has the right to raise the matter and it is not proper for the Speaker not to listen to him after he raised the matter, the Speaker could give his judgement," he said. UPFA MP Sarath Amunugama also buttressed the argument of Dissanayake and Gunawardena.

At this point, the Leader of the House and Minister Kiriella observed that the interpretation of a Bill also includes its regulations as well.

The Speaker noted the relevant Act under which the Orders were made yesterday, had not given a specific time line to pass them and asked the MPs support in proceeding with the business of the House without wasting further time.

Thereafter Minister Ravi Karunanayake moved the 17 Orders under the Special Commodity Levy Act for debate.

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Gammanpila objects to question raised by JVP MP on TRC funds

UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila yesterday in Parliament, objected to a question raised by JVP MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa on the financial crimes investigation pertaining to the misappropriation of Rs. 600 million of the TRC funds to distribute Sil robes.

The MP objected to the raising of the question on the basis that there was a case pending on this matter at the High Court.

He pointed out that the question was against Standing Order 31 (6), as it prevents any member from raising questions over a matter before Courts.

He said the questions could hinder the court procedure with regard to the matter. Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the question was asked before the issue reached courts, adding that the relevant minister may provide the answer cautiously in a manner that does not hinder the court process.

However, he also pointed out the need to rethink the suitability of such standing orders, stating that the MPs should have the freedom to talk about matters before courts if the law is not functioning properly.

At a times when the judiciary had collapsed and the suspects are produced before higher courts, avoiding magistrate courts and when the suspects involved in large scale financial crimes have been granted bail by court without arresting them at least for a single day, why Parliament should not direct its attention towards such matters? The judiciary is conducting cases in a manner to cover up the wrongdoers. At such a time, we should think twice over the validity of standing orders," he commented.

Gammanpila replying to Dissanayake, started it was wrong to question the process of the judiciary, while those in Parliament violate the Standing Orders.

Nalinda Jayatissa from his question had asked what action had been taken against former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and former TRC Director General Anusha Palpita over the misappropriation of public funds in the runup to the 2015 presidential election. 


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