House suspends Wimal and Ranaweera

Joint Opposition MPs Prasanna Ranaweera and Wimal Weerawansa were suspended from Parliament for four weeks and two weeks respectively following a disciplinary inquiry on their misconduct in the House.

The two motions pertaining to the suspension were moved by Leader of the House and Minister Lakshman Kiriella.

Disciplinary action against the two MPs were based on the recommendations of the Parliament Privileges and Ethics Committee which probed into the tense situation that erupted in the House on July 3 due to continuous arguments on the controversial statement by former State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran.

Committee Chairman Thilak Marapone presented the report of the inquiry to the House on September 5. The Committee perused the CCTV footage of the incident and summoned both the MPs before the Committee to show cause.

The Joint Opposition called for divisions for both motions. The motion on the suspension of MP Ranaweera received 41 votes for and 21 votes against. A total of 162 MPs were absent at the time of the vote including the JVP MPs. The JO and SLFP Group of 16 MPs voted against. TNA MPs Dharmalingam Sidarthan and S. Addeikkalanathan were the only TNA MPs present in the Chamber at the time of the vote and they voted for the motion along with the Government MPs. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa were also present.

MP Ranaweera, who was present for the vote of his motion, tried to raise a Point of Order, but Speaker Karu Jayasuriya pointed out that no MP can speak when the quorum bell was ringing. Following the passage of the motion, MP Ranaweera was ordered to leave the Chamber before the next vote on MP Weerawansa. JO frontline MP Weerawansa was not seen in the Chamber yesterday. The motion against Weerawansa was passed with 39 votes for and 21 against.

The Speaker said the suspensions of Parliamentary service of the two MPs are effective from yesterday.

A formal complaint into the incident on July 3 was made in the House by Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera on July 4. Deputy Minister Perera brought to the attention of the House that the two JO MPs with their foul language and aggressive behaviour even threatened the Chair.

MP Ranaweera tried to grab the Mace.

The New Standing Orders of Parliament that came into effect from April 15 have provisions to impose four weeks’ suspension on any MP who touches the Mace during the sittings.

Ministers Thilak Marapana, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Gayantha Karunathilake, Mano Ganesan and Faiszer Musthapha, MPs Susil Premajayantha, Douglas Devananda, Anura Dissanayake, E. Saravanapavan and Shanthi Sri Skandarasa are members of the Privileges and Ethics Committee. On May 5, 2016 MP Prasanna Ranaweera and Deputy Minister Palitha Thewarapperuma were suspended from Parliament for a week for misbehaving in the House. On March 8, 2017 Joint Opposition Parliamentary Group Leader MP Dinesh Gunawardena was suspended from Parliament for a week due for disobeying and disregarding the authority of the Chair.

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