State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe says the Speaker has agreed to an inquiry into the violation of Parliamentary privileges due to the interim order issued by the Supreme Court pertaining to the Local Government Elections.
MP Premnath C. Dolawatte told the Parliament on Tuesday (07) that the powers and privileges of Parliament have been violated by the Interim Order issued by the Supreme Court instructing the Finance Ministry Secretary to refrain from withholding funds for the polls.
Raising an issue of privilege in Parliament, MP Premnath C. Dolawatte said the Minister in charge of the subject of Finance is responsible to Parliament which controls public finance and that the Interim Order by the Supreme Court attempts to prevent the implementation of these laws and makes the control of public finance by Parliament nullity.
He further pointed out that the interim order seeks to give effect to the Activity Budget Estimates for 2023 which is not a law nor a legal document, but a summary of the Appropriation Bill for 2023 to assist Parliament during the debate.
MP Dolawatte also pointed out that the Parliament has the power to act when there is a violation of its powers and privileges.
Commenting on the matter in Parliament today (10), State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe said that the matter has been accepted by the Speaker and has been presented to the Parliamentary Committee on Ethics and Privileges.
“It is a serious offence to implement the interim order by the Supreme Court before hearing the said matter and taking a decision,” he said.
The State Minister further said that by tabling the letter by the Chairman of the National Election Commission on the matter, he request the Deputy Speaker to refer the matter to the Parliamentary Committee on Ethics and Privileges to conduct an inquiry.
State Minister Shehan Semasinghe also requested the Deputy Speaker to advise all relevant authorities not to take action on the said matter until the Parliamentary Committee on Ethics and Privileges concludes its inquiry on the said matter.
A heated argument broke out thereafter, between the ruling party MPs and the Opposition over State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe’s statement.
Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa accused the Government of attempting to postpone the Local Government election by pressurising the judiciary which had given a clear verdict to conduct the election. (NewsWire)