Sampanthan, Herath could get into hot water


by Saman Indrajith

Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody yesterday said that action would be taken against two MPs, R. Sampanthan (TNA) and Vijitha Herath (DNA) who were also members of the Parliamentary Select Committee that probed the charges in the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, if they had given evidence before the Court of Appeal hearing a petition against the PSC.

He said that special permission was needed for MPs to give evidence regarding Parliament proceedings and its committees outside Parliament and these two MPs had obtained no such permission before they appeared before the Court of Appeal yesterday.

The Deputy Speaker said that he was unaware whether the two MPs had given evidence before the Court or a sworn affidavit which could be also considered as evidence.

"If the said MPs have given evidence, action could be taken against them under Section 17 of the Parliament Powers and Privileges Act," Weerakkody said, adding that a censure motion could be brought against MPs Samapanthan and Herath on the grounds that they had undermined Parliamentary supremacy. "Else they could be charged for contempt of Parliament," he said.

The Deputy Speaker pointed out that the statement made by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, when notice was first issued by the Supreme Court and the statement made by former Speaker Anura Bandaranaike, stated that a third party could not intervene in the affairs of Parliament and that principle applied to the impeachment process as well.

The Deputy Speaker went on to say that the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court had not notified the Parliament regarding its decisions.

He said that the Appeal Court interpretation on the PSC had no impact on Parliamentary process. He added that Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa would declare the stand of Parliament over the matter when the House meets on January 08.

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