Senior Ministers assert :PSC stays out of Appeal Court Strict compliance with the law:
Posted on January 2nd, 2013

Sandasen MARASINGHE-Courtesy The Daily News

The government members of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) appointed to investigate charges in the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Dr Shirani Bandaranayake will not appear before the Appeal Court today in strict adherence to the existing law in the country though notice had been issued against the members, Sri Lanka Freedom Party Senior Ministers said.

They made this observation at a media conference at the Mahaweli Centre auditorium yesterday to express the view of the SLFP on the present political situation. Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said both the government and opposition members will abide by the constitution to respect the supremacy of Parliament and also the Speaker of Parliament.

He said Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa issued a clear ruling that the members of a PSC cannot be summoned before a court after considering a ruling issued earlier by then Speaker Anura Bandaranaike and also the submissions made by the government and opposition members in Parliament.

“ƒ”¹…”MPs GOING TO COURT ON PSC, IN CONTEMPT OF PARLIAMENT’

Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody said yesterday that any legislator going before a court of law over a procedure exclusive to the legislature is in complete violation Parliamentary privileges section 17 and 9. (Excerpted here.)

He said prior approval has to be obtained from Parliament if any member wishes to appear in Court in relation to parliamentary procedure.

The judiciary should also take parliamentary privileges into account, he said. The Deputy Speaker said that parliament can take action against any member of Parliament for violating Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act Section 17 and Section 9 and for contempt of legislature.

Powers, Privileges Act Section 17 and 9 17: No member or officer of Parliament and no shorthand writer employed to take minutes of evidence before the House or any committee shall give evidence elsewhere in respect of the contents of such evidence or of the contents of any manuscript or document laid before Parliament or any committee or in respect of any proceedings or examination had at the Bar or before any committee of Parliament, without the special leave of Parliament first had and obtained.

9: All privileges, immunities and powers of Parliament shall be part of the general and public law of Sri Lanka, and it shall not be

necessary to plead the same, but the same shall in all courts in Sri Lanka be judicially noticed.

Minister de Silva said the opposition leader and the UNP general secretary have clearly stated that the UNP will maintain the same stance as the government on this issue.

He said the democratic right is guaranteed for any person to make any comment on the report of the PSC but there is no dispute where the law stands in connection with the procedure adopted in the impeachment.

The minister said all measures are taken in accordance with the existing law.

He said many views have been expressed by NGOs, legal bodies, international organisations and media personnel on the procedure adopted in the impeachment process but these very elements who were silent for a long time since the law was introduced. De Silva said although the late Lalith Athulathmudali, at the investigation into the charges in the impeachment motion against then Chief Justice Neville Samarakoon recommended a change in the procedure, all these NGOs, legal associations, international organisations and media personnel kept silent all these years until this motion was filed in accordance with the existing law.

Minister de Silva said the House will take up the PSC report for debate.

“If the impeachment motion is passed in Parliament it will be directed to the President to consider impeachment of the Chief Justice,” he said.

The minister said according to his view, although the President has a discretion in the matter, it would not be ethical for him to reject the decision of Parliament.

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