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Constitutional Assembly sitting ruled as legitimate

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  • Deputy Speaker says adequate notice was given, rejects UPFA contention by pointing out previous sittings were done with less time


Deputy Speaker and the Chair of Committees J.M. Ananda Kumarasiri yesterday rejected the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) objections to allow the Constitutional Assembly sitting in the main chamber of Parliament, during which the Chairman of the Steering Committee Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe moved several reports.

Announcing his decision, the Deputy Speaker told the lawmakers all matters pertaining to the Constitutional Assembly should be conducted as per the Framework Resolution of 9 March 2016 passed in Parliament. As per the clause 16 of the Framework Resolution, unless suspended by Parliament, the Standing Orders of Parliament shall apply to the proceedings of the Constitutional Assembly subject to the provisions of this resolution.

Furthermore, Standing Order 93 sets the necessary background for clause 1 of the Framework Resolution, which provides the powers of a Committee of the whole Parliament consisting of all Members of Parliament. According to Standing Order 97, the rules as to procedure when the Speaker is in the Chair shall apply to procedure in Committee of the whole Parliament except that a motion shall not require notice; a motion need not be seconded; and a Member may speak more than once to the same question.

“When I read the notice of the Constitutional Assembly sitting on Thursday in Parliament, UPFA MPs Wimal Weerawansa and Dinesh Gunawardena raised objections and held the notice should be made three days before the sitting as per the Standing Orders. 

According to long standing parliamentary traditions, when a Committee is summoned, relevant members are notified accordingly and adequately,” said the Deputy Speaker.

Clearing the air for the Constitutional Assembly sitting to proceed, the Deputy Speaker said: “I have observed the notice of the Constitutional Assembly before. The Constitutional Assembly sitting of 19 November 2016 and 21 September 2017 took place with one day’s notice. Two days’ notice was issued for the sitting on 11 December 2017 as per the Hansard Reports. So, I have made an adequate notice of today’s sitting of the Constitutional Assembly. So, there are no impediments to prevent the sitting of the Constitutional Assembly. In addition, at the Party Leader’s meeting held on 9 January in my presence, it was agreed upon to have the Constitutional Assembly sitting without violation of the Standing Orders or the Framework Resolution.” (AH)


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