If House agrees, Ranjan’s tapes will not be tabled - Speaker | Daily News


If House agrees, Ranjan’s tapes will not be tabled - Speaker

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said that if the House is not in agreement, they could stop the tabling of MP Ranjan Ramanayake’s tape recordings.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya also urged members to use the freedom of speech accorded to them through the Constitution, parliamentary privileges and powers in a manner that preserves the dignity and respect of the august assembly.

The Speaker made this clarification in parliament yesterday with regard to tabling of the telephone recordings by MP Ranjan Ramanayake.Ramanayake had said he would table several telephone recordings initially, but it had not been done. But on January 27, he had handed over 19 recorded telephone conversations to the Hansard Department, the Speaker noted.

“The MPs made a request to allow them to listen to these recordings and the party leaders were notified of this. Based on the agreement of all party leaders, it was decided to release these recordings to the MPs after editing these recordings. Accordingly, a four member committee was appointed to listen to these recordings. Moreover, there is a set of accepted traditions and course of action followed by this House in terms of documents that are tabled. Such documents are tabled only with the approval of the Speaker. Similarly, the document that is tabled should be included in the MPs speech in the House. As soon as the speech is completed the document should be placed on the desk. Thereafter, once this document is tabled, it is not an accepted tradition to edit a document which is tabled. However, based on the request made by the MPs and the agreement reached at the party leaders meeting, it was decided that it is best to edit these recordings prior to making them available to the MPs, but I wish to reiterate that this practice should not be a precedent for the future,” the Speaker noted.

Speaker Jayasuriya urged all MPs to exercise their right to freedom of speech accorded to them through parliamentary privileges in a responsible manner without jeopardising the reputation and deference of parliament.The Speaker warned that in the event the MPs fail to follow proper procedures when tabling documents in parliament, he would be forced to reject such material. Minister Wimal Weerawansa inquired from the Speaker what the edited call recordings were.

In response the Speaker noted that there was no politics involved in this matter and these recordings had to be edited due to the crude language contained in them. Raising a legal point, MP Wijayadasa Rajapakse queried as to how the contents of these tapes received rights under parliamentary privileges and powers.

In response, Speaker Jayasuriya said, “There is no provision and this cannot be considered a document. There is no use to society from these either.There are varying viewpoints on this matter, but this should not be taken as an example for the future.”

The Speaker also said parliamentarians have a moral responsibility to uphold the integrity of Parliament. “By distributing such obscene material in the future, it could have a grave impact on the democratic process. If the majority of MPs are against the releasing of these recordings, we could suspend its distribution.”

Expressing his views Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said that it had not been agreed upon at the party leaders meeting to release these recordings.“The reason that it was discussed at the party leaders meeting was due to the negative impact it could have on the integrity of parliament and democracy.

That is why it was discussed about editing it to prevent preconception.However, the party leaders did not agree to table these recordings.

Leader of the House Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that if the House is not in agreement, such documents should not be tabled. He also noted that the party leaders had not agreed to table these documents. In response the Speaker said that if the House is not in agreement, they could stop the tabling of these recordings.


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