Speaker tells Sajith why Ramanayake can’t be in Parliament | Daily News

Speaker tells Sajith why Ramanayake can’t be in Parliament

Opposition Leader wants him transferred to Welikada prison :

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa called on Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to intervene to transfer former MP Ranjan Ramanayake to another prison from Angunakolapelessa Prison yesterday.

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena yesterday announced that as former State Minister Ranjan Ramanayake was convicted and sentenced by a three judge bench of the Supreme Court for Contempt of Court, there is no Court to appeal against the judgement.

He also added that there is no appeal against the same judgement filed before the Supreme Court but only a motion has been filed there. He added however that the Opposition which should take the matter before Court is only debating in Parliament.

The Speaker said that an appeal cannot be filed before a lower Court against a judgement by a Higher Court as Higher Courts cannot abide by Lower Court judgements. He said however MP Premalal Jayasekara’s matter was different as he had taken legal advice and taken a proper Court order on his appeal. Acting according to the Court order measures were taken to bring him for Court sittings.

He made these observations when Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa and other Opposition members demanded the Speaker to bring Ranjan Ramanayake who was convicted for four years imprisonment by the Supreme Court to Parliament and to protect his seat disrupting business of the day.

The Speaker, Deputy Speaker Leader of the House, Chief Government Whip and several senior Ministers from time to time instructed and demanded the Opposition leader to behave as a responsible Opposition Leader and a senior member and allow to continue with the business of the day rather than raising issues against the Parliamentary tradition. However heated arguments took place between government side and opposition side members while the debate was in progress as the Oppositing side members attempted to interrupt the session by shouting slogans on Ranjan Ramanayake.

Premadasa said that he met Ramanayake in the Angunakolapelessa Prison yesterday. He was living in a miserable state with drug traffickers and murderers in prison. His life is at a risk there as he spoke against murderers and drug offenders. Hence the government and the Speaker should take responsibility if something happened to Ramanayake, he said. He demanded the Chair to transfer Ramanayake to the Welikada Prison. He also demanded the Speaker to take steps to bring Ramanayake to Parliament since he is still an MP although he is convicted and imprisoned for four years’ RI based on the fact that he had filed two appeals before the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. He added it should be done as Sri Lanka was a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. He added that the Court of Appeal had instructed Parliament Secretary General to maintain the Status Quo in respect of the Ranjan Ramanayake’s matter. He also said that Premalal Jayasekara also was sentenced and appealed against the same sentence. Ranjan Ramanayake was also sentenced and has appealed against the judgement. Hence both of them are in a similar position and queried as to why Ramanayake could not be in Parliament whereas Premalal Jayasekara could be.

The Speaker said that MP Premalal Jayasekara was not brought to Parliament during the first week of sittings as there was no Court order in that respect. Later he had taken a due Court order and in accordance with it he was allowed to participate in sittings. MP Jayasekara said that his matter was taken always in the Parliament by the Opposition. He added that the matter was roused by the previous government’s members and Ministers. He had recordings of them and would submit them in the Court during his appeal case is being heard.

Minister W.D.J.Seneviratne said that there is a precedent to a Contempt of Court matter similar to Ranjan’s matter which was S.B.Dissanayake’s case.When S.B.Dissanayake was in the UNP government he was convicted and sentenced for Contempt of Court by the Supreme Court. However, even then UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe too said that there was no means to appeal against the Supreme Court judgement. He added that as there are no such persons in the Opposition, these debates occur in the House.

MP Patali Ranawaka said that as there are no provisions in statutes to act against such a judgement of the Supreme Court, he handed over a Private Member’s Bill to redress the same issue. He added that the same should be debated and passed in order to urge such laws be implemented.

SLPP MP Jayantha Weerasinghe PC said the Speaker’s stance was correct. He added that Premalal Jayasekara was sentenced by a High Court which he could appeal against. Ranjan Ramanayake was sentenecd by Supreme Court which he cannot appeal against according to the existing law. He added he studied both the cases. He added that Ranjan Ramanayake had not filed an appeal but a motion only. He added Ranjan Ramanayake immediate after the judgement was delivered, again made a defamatory statement.