Posted on October 26th, 2022

By Ceylon Today

Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has requested Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to appoint a Special Parliamentary Select Committee to probe the statement made by Illankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) MP M.A. Sumanthiran regarding the Supreme Court during the debate on the 22nd Amendment Bill on 20 October.

In a letter to the Speaker, Rajapakshe said,

During the speech, Sumanthiran said the determination of Supreme Court on the Amendment Bill was not according to the Law. He also said the Supreme Court changes its stance from time to time and therefore, it should be ‘sent home.’ This is indirectly saying that the determinations and the judgements of the Supreme Court should not be trusted and the existence of the Supreme Court was also unnecessary,” Rajapakshe said.

Rajapakshe said the Select Committee should present its report to the House in three months after the first meeting.

The Minister said, according to Standing Orders, without a proper proposal, one should not criticise the Courts or Judges.

This MP has tried to create a dispute between the Court and Parliament. He should not have made such a statement. Due to this, the trust of the people on the Judiciary has been damaged. Sumanthiran is a President’s Counsel and as such, he is setting a wrong precedent for society. He used MPs’ privileges as a shield. Due to such statements, people could begin to dislike all MPs, therefore, it could be considered as a violation of privileges of the other MPs,” he said.

Therefore, I request the Speaker to appoint a Special Parliament Select Committee to probe the statement in question and to provide recommendations on the matter.

The Justice Minister said, members and the chairpersons of the select committee should be appointed by the Speaker and the number of members should not exceed 21 as per Standing Order 101.

The select committee should have the power to decide the quorum. It should also have the power to summon persons according to its opinions to obtain written and oral testimonies. The select committee should have the power to obtain service of the experts on the subject and it should have the power to present reports and continue the meetings despite prorogation or adjournment of the House, he added.

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