Inquiry concludes on Wimal Weerawansa’s Parliamentary misconduct | Sunday Observer

Inquiry concludes on Wimal Weerawansa’s Parliamentary misconduct

Once the Ethics Committee inquiry report on the alleged unparliamentary behavior of two MPs is completed, it will have to be tabled in Parliament. Then the Leader of the House will have to move a resolution in Parliament for further action. If any division is called when the resolution is moved, it will have to go for a vote.

The Parliament Ethics and Privileges Committee (PEPC) which is inquiring into the alleged misconduct of Joint Opposition (JO) MPs Wimal Weerawansa and Prasanna Ranaweera during an uproar in Parliament on July 3 is believed to have observed that the two MPs by resorting to such unparliamentary behaviour have violated the Standing Orders. Similarly, the PEPC is to send its recommendations to Parliament for further action to be taken against the two MP’s.

A senior Parliamentary official told the Sunday Observer that once the PEPC inquiry report on the alleged unparliamentary behavior of two MPs is completed, it will have to be tabled in Parliament. Then the Leader of the House will have to move a resolution in Parliament for further action. If any division is called when the resolution is moved, it will have to go for a vote. The period of the suspension of sittings of the two MPs will have to be decided by Parliament. It could be one week, two weeks or beyond.

A PEPC member told the Sunday Observer that the Committee will send its observations to Parliament shortly for a final decision. The PEPC commenced inquiries following a formal complaint by State Minister of Power and Renewable Energy Ajith P. Perera against the alleged unparliamentary conduct of the two JO Parliamentarians, during an uproar in the House on July 3 on a controversial statement made in Jaffna by the then State Minister of Child Affairs, Vijayakala Maheswaran.

However, State Minister Ajith P. Perera told the Sunday Observer that it is entirely up to the Speaker to take a decision on the PEPC report. He said there is clear provision in the Privileges Act to deal with such instances. The new set of Standing Orders adopted by the Parliament on April 15, 2018 can also be applied to this case and this would be the first case to be looked into under them. State Minister Perera said serious action would have to be taken against the two MPs as a deterrent against repetition of such misconduct in Parliament. He further said that the leniency on the part of the Speaker has led to this kind of incidents and the Speaker has to take stern action against the MPs who resort to unparliamentary behavior in the House.

Meanwhile, State Minister Perera on July 4 brought to the attention of the House that the two JO Parliamentarians Weerawansa and Ranaweera with their foul language and aggressive behaviour threatened the Chair and tried to grab the Mace. The State Minister said two MPs ridiculed the dignity and decorum of Parliament which amounts to a breach of privileges of all other MPs. He urged that a comprehensive inquiry be held into the incident and stern action taken against the two MPs as per the provisions contained in the newly adopted Standing Orders and Code of Conduct for MPs. The State Minister further said these MPs behaved in this manner in the Chamber without any sense of fear of its consequences because the Committee on Ethics and Privileges takes a very lenient stance when dealing with such unruly behaviour.

According to PEPC sources, MP Weerawansa when he was summoned before the Committee had denied any wrongdoing, adding that he did not intentionally disrespect the Speaker. He had however, refused to express regret over the incident. JO MPs Wimal Weerawansa and Prasanna Ranaweera were summoned before the PEPC on July 16, 2018. The Committee had summoned the two MPs to proceed with the inquiry into their alleged misconduct in Parliament on July 03 and they had been asked to show cause as to why disciplinary action should not be taken against them.

However, highly informed sources confirmed that disciplinary action is likely to be taken against MP Ranaweera as he had tried to grab the Mace.

The new set of Standing Orders of Parliament adopted from April 15 has the provision to impose four weeks suspension on any member who touches the Mace during the sittings.

The PEPC which met on July 5 following the complaint had perused the CCTV footage of the incident. Earlier, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya also expressed his deep displeasure over the unruly behaviour of JO MPs Weerawansa and Ranaweera in the House.

The Speaker in a special statement at the commencement of sittings on July 4 said the unparliamentary conduct of MPs Wimal Weerawansa and Prasanna Ranaweera during a protest against State Minister Vijayakala Maheshwaran’s controversial statement was harmful to the dignity and decorum of Parliament and the country at large. He observed that the conduct of the two MPs was a disgrace and unbecoming of Parliamentarians.

The Speaker said everyone in Parliament should be ashamed and regret what happened on July 3. The Speaker further said at a time Sri Lankan Parliament has been recognised as a model Parliament in the world by the Inter- Parliamentary Union (IPU), the conduct and behavior of some JO MPs had caused a very embarrassing situation and harmed the image of the country and its Parliament.

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