Final decision on Ranjan’s seat in three weeks – Speaker

Final decision on Ranjan’s seat in three weeks – Speaker

Final decision on Ranjan’s seat in three weeks – Speaker

Written by Staff Writer

19 Jan, 2021 | 8:58 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): A final decision on allowing parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake to attend sittings while serving his four-year prison term will be announced in three weeks, speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana has said.

He made these remarks after opposition parliamentarians, during a debate on Tuesday, demanded that Ramanayake be allowed to attend parliamentary sessions.

“Although the National Election Commission has said his seat will fall vacant in six months, we will adopt all legal measures within the democratic framework in such an instance,” opposition leader Sajith Premadasa said.

On Monday, the Attorney General had advised the Parliament’s Secretary General that Ramanayake’s seat is vacant in view of his sentence for contempt of court.

“Allowing a person to occupy a parliamentary seat is at your (the Speaker’s) discretion. The courts or the Attorney General cannot interfere into this,” Laksham Kiriella, the Chief Opposition Whip insisted.

He pointed out that Parliamentary Speakers, in past instances, had made decisions at his discretion by disregarding the advice of the Attorney General or a court.

Dilan Perera, a government lawmaker insisted that Ramanayake, can at least stand a chance of contesting the next parliamentary election, only by receiving a presidential pardon.

“If you really want Ranjan Ramanayake in the next Parliament, take steps to obtain a presidential pardon,” Perera remarked.

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