By Ajith Alahakoon
The Parliamentary Committee, appointed to conduct an investigation into the disorderly conduct of MPs in parliament on November 14, 15 and 16 last year has found that 59 MPs acted in violation of the provisions of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act, sources said yesterday.
Among those 59 MPs there were 54 UPFA MPs, four UNP MPs and one JVP member, sources said.
The committee handed over their report to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya last week.
The report has been compiled on the basis of video footage obtained from the CCTVs in Parliament and from TV stations, which covered parliamentary proceedings.
Of the MPs found guilty of acting violently in the Chamber, the highest number of charges is against UPFA Gampaha District MP Prasanna Ranaweera. Some of the charges are pouring water on the Speaker’s Chair, assaulting policemen, throwing some liquid at them, damaging the microphone on the Speaker’s desk and hurling a chair and books at policemen. The second highest number of charges is against Kurunegala District UPFA MP Johnston Fernando. UPFA MP Dilum Amunugama and UNP cross-over to UPFA Ananda Aluthgamage, too, have been charged with damaging the Speaker’s microphone.
MP Indika Anuruddha has been charged with throwing water on the Speaker’s Chair, hurling a dustbin at the Speaker’s Chair, throwing a book at the Speaker while Mahindananda Aluthgamage has been charged with hurling a bottle of water at the Speaker. UPFA MP Arundika Fernando has been accused of sitting on the Speaker’s Chair and UPFA MP Niroshan Premaratne of obstructing the duties of policemen and threatening the policemen. UPFA MPs Nishantha Muthuhettigama and Ranjith Zoysa have been charged with overturning the dais where the Mace receptacle stands. UPFA MP Padma Udayashantha has been charged with taking something from his shoes and mixing it with water before throwing the mixture at policemen, UNP MP Gamini Jayawickrama Perera and JVP MP Vijitha Herath.
UNP MPs Ranjan Ramanayake and Palitha Thevarapperuma have been charged with holding what looked like knives.
The committee in its report has mentioned that the Department of Valuation has determined that the total damage caused to the parliament properties by the MPs on Nov 14, 15 and 16 was Rs. 325,000. The committee report has recommended that legal action be instituted against the MPs charged with unruly behaviour.
The CID has informed the committee that it is conducting a separate investigation into the incidents.
The MPs representing both the government and the Opposition were involved in the preparation of the report.
Chaired by Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri, the committee consisted of former Speaker of Parliament Chamal Rajapaksa, MPs Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Chandrasiri Gajadeera, Bimal Rathnayake and Mavai S. Senathirajah. However MPs Chamal Rajapaksa and Chandrasiri Gajadheera did not attend meetings of the committee, according to the report.
The police team investigating the incident has informed Speaker Karu Jayasuriya that they were gathering evidence to take legal action against unruly MPs and that process would take couple of more months.
The committee report would be studied by Speaker Jayasuriya and thereafter he would meet the committee to decide a future course of action, according to sources. The Speaker would refer the committee report to the Attorney General along with the evidence contained in the video footage and the statements by various persons including parliament staff members and police officers on the brawl. Once the AG’s Department instructions were received the report would be tabled in Parliament. It needs to be approved through a motion for the AG to be asked to institute legal actions against the culprits.