House adjourned within five minutes of commencement for want of quorum


By Saman Indrajith

Parliament sittings ended abruptly within five minutes of commencement yesterday morning due to lack of quorum (20 MPs).

The business of Parliament and several committee meetings scheduled parallel to the sittings had to be postponed. The quorum of members was requested by UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardena after the presentations of papers and public petitions.

Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri, who was in the Chair, ordered to ring the quorum bell to summon the members, but only 17 MPs, remained after the quorum bell rang for five minutes. Leader of the House and Minister Lakshman Kiriella, at this point, requested the consent of the House to proceed without considering the lack of quorum of MPs. "It is a waste of money and time.

I request to continue despite the lack of quorum of MPs," he said.

However, the Deputy Speaker pointed out that he could not allow that request as it was a violation of the Standing Orders of Parliament. Then he announced that the sittings would be adjourned till 10am today.

The House could not even take up the oral question round at the commencement of the sittings, and the second reading of Economic Service Charge (Amendment) Bill and Regulation under the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Act scheduled for yesterday had to be postponed.

Only MPs Bandula Gunawardena and S.C. Muthukumarana were present in the chamber from the JO. Government members Gayantha Karunathilake, Lakshman Kiriella, Karunarathna Paranavithana, Ranjith Aluvihare, Sriyani Wijewickrema and Ananda Aluthgamage were present in the chamber, while Eran Wickramaratne and Mayantha Dissanayake also rushed in at the last minute of the quorum bell. JVP MPs Bimal Rathnayake, Nihal Galappatti and Dr Nalinda Jayatissa and TNA MP Kaveendiran Kodishwaran, EPDP Leader Douglas Devananda were present in the Opposition benches.

JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti and TNA MP Gnanamuthu Srineshan entered the chamber after the sittings were adjourned. Some of these MPs had been attending various meetings, including the COPE in the committee rooms in Parliament. Many UNP MPs were taking part in the UNP Anniversary Convention at Sirikotha yesterday morning.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has tated that Parliament spends over Rs 4.5 million each day to conduct the sittings.

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