The report of the Special Committee appointed by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to investigate the brawl that took place in the Chamber during mid-November and the conduct of lawmakers has named four MPs representing United National Party (UNP), one from the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), and 54 from the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA).
The disruptions took place on 14, 15 and 16 November 2018. According to the report tabled in Parliament, the lawmakers have violated Standing Order 92 where Deputy Minister of Social Empowerment Palitha Kumara Thewarapperuma was found having an object similar to a knife in his hand. UNP MP Chandima Gamage was detailed in the report as getting ready to assault UPFA MP Johnston Fernando, State Minister of Highways and Road Development Ranjan Ramanayake pulling out an object similar to a knife concealed in his trousers, and UNP PM Thushara Indunil Amarasena throwing back the trash bin at UPFA MP Indika Anurudda Herath. JVP MP Vijitha Herath was found guilty of approaching the Speaker’s Chair.
Meanwhile UPFA MPs, including S. B. Dissanayake, Ananda Aluthgamage, Prasanna Ranaweera, Piyal Nishantha, Padma Udayashantha Gunasekara, Dilan Perera, Dinesh Gunewardene, Lohan Ratwatte, Jayantha Samaraweera, Thilanga Sumathipala, Johnston Fernando, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Dilum Amunugama, Indika Anuraddha Herath, Sisira Jayakody, Priyankara Jayarathne, Susantha Punchinilame, Pavithra Devi Wanniarachchi, Ranjith Zoysa, Kanchana Wijesekera, S. M. Chandrasena, D. V. Chanaka, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Dullas Alahapperuma, Shehan Semasinghe, Thenuka Vidanagamage, Sarathie Dushmantha, Sanath Nishantha, Kanchana Herath, Udaya Gammanpila, Tharanath Basnayake, Wimal Weerawansa, Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle, Janaka Bandara Thennakoon, Dr. Ramesh Pathirana, Vijitha Berugoda, Mohan Priyadharshana de Silva, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, S. M. Chandrasena, C. B. Rathnayake, T. B. Ekanayake, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane, Tharaka Balasuriya, Lakshman Wasantha Perera, Janaka Wakkumbura, Dr. Bandula Gunawardane, Arundhika Fernando, S. Premarathna, Kanaka Herath, and Salinda Dissanayake, were found guilty of stepping into the well of the House.
Their conduct included insulting the Speaker verbally and using hand gestures, threatening the Speaker, approaching and gathering around the Speaker’s Chair, breaking the Speaker’s microphone system, throwing water bottles, a trash bin, a hard file and books at the Speaker, putting water on the Speaker’s Chair, shouting slogans and holding posters, distributing posters, addressing the House by standing beside the Speaker’s Chair, addressing House in Tamil standing beside the Speaker’s Chair, damaging microphones, throwing a chair at Parliament police and threatening them. Throwing water at police, pushing back the police officers and preventing them from performing their duties, carrying the Speaker’s Chair from the place it is kept, assaulting police officers, toppling the stand on which the mace is kept, and blocking the Speaker’s entrance were also listed in the report.
According to the committee, in terms of the provisions of the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act, the Parliament headed by the Speaker is vested in powers to take disciplinary action regarding Members of Parliament found doing wrong. Further, either the Parliament or the Supreme Court can impose punishment with regard to the offences contained in the report relating the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act, and that the maximum punishment that the Parliament can impose accordingly has been clearly stated in Section 28 of the Act.
However, only the Supreme Court can impose penalties with regard to certain offences described in the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act, and in doing so, the action shall be taken in terms of Sections 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26 of the Act.
The committee comprised MPs representing all parties, including UPFA MP and former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, UPFA MP Chandrasiri Gajadeera, JVP MP Bimal Rathnayake, UNP MP R. M. Ranjith Madduma Bandara, and ITAK MP Mavai S. Senathirajah.