PSC drama Wijeyadasa warns Speaker
Posted on June 10th, 2019

By J. T. De Silva Courtesy Ceylon Today

Member of Parliament Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has written to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya emphasising that under Clause 74 of the Constitution, Parliament does not have the authority to appoint a Select Committee regarding powers possessed by the Executive in connection with State Security.

In the letter he states that he would like to focus attention on the law that is being currently enforced to punish anyone who reveals any facts, such as official State secrets that have been prohibited to be revealed by any person, that is either by the Speaker, Prime Minister, Ministers or any Parliamentarian and for meting out punishment if found guilty.

Rajapakshe has pointed out under a clause in the Constitution, Parliament does not have the authority to appoint a Select Committee regarding powers possessed by the Executive in connection with State Security.

It is clear, under the Official Secrets Act No. 32 of 1955, the Attorney General does not have the authority to launch any legal provision regarding any officer or person who comes to the Select Committee and refuses to give evidence in connection with something that has been prohibited by law.

In his letter, Dr. Rajapakshe has emphasised that according to that Act, documents, data and information collected by them as well as methods being used by the security forces, being revealed to someone is a criminal offence and under Clause 19 of this Act, the person who does reveal such details could be jailed without even a warrant being issued.

According to Clause 27, definition of the Act, it is an offence for someone who receives a post in the Government on for the mentioned tasks or someone who held such a post previously, revealing State intelligence information or influencing the revelation of such information or aiding and abetting the revealing of such information. That person can be subject to legal action under Clause 22 of that Act and the Attorney General has the authority to file a case. Under Clause 26(1) of that Act, a punishment of one of two types, which is a prison sentence of 14 years or a fine of Rs. 20,000 can be imposed on the offender. If not, both punishments can be meted out and according to Clause 26(2) a prison sentence meted out in two ways, either for 2 years or a fine of Rs 2,000 or both punishments can be imposed.

As the Speaker of the Parliament, you have made arrangements to allow the provisions of the above mentioned Official Secrets Act to be violated in the raw and as a result, if any officer of the Intelligence Division of the Republic of Sri Lanka or any member of their families face a threat to their lives or other danger, legal action can be taken against you and all others who have violated the provisions of the said Act. This will be the responsibility of the Government of Good Governance or the Government that will be elected next,” the letter mentions.

According to statements and announcements you have made or issued from time to time, regarding the above-mentioned Parliamentary Select Committee, it is clear that you are acting without a proper understanding of the authority that has been assigned to the Parliament and to you as the Speaker through the Constitution.

Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has also mentioned in his letter that he did not do this to protect either a Political Party or a group and that he does not represent any such Party or group.

The Parliamentarian has requested the Speaker further not to engage in activities that endanger the lives of people living in this country which is facing anarchy due to the power struggle between the legislature and the Executive.

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