SJB: Prorogation of Parliament aimed at handing over Trinco oil tank farm to India By Saman Indrajith

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Disclosure of New Fortress agreements has frigthened govt. – JVP

The sudden prorogation of Parliament is part of a secret plan to hand over the Trincomalee oil tank farm to India, says Chief Opposition Whip and SJB MP Lakshman Kiriella.

MP Kiriella told The Island yesterday that Parliament had to be kept open at present, given the enormity of the crisis the country was faced with. “The British Parliament continued to have sessions even while bombs were going off during World War II. The government is running away, unable to answer our questions on national issues, such as its clandestine deal with the US-based New Fortress Energy company. It is obvious that the government has a lot to hide from the legislators and the public,” Kiriella said, noting that the government would have to face reality after five weeks.

The Chief Opposition Whip said Parliament could not be kept closed indefinitely and the government had to face the problems instead of running away.

Meanwhile, former Kalutara District JVP MP Dr Nalinda Jayatissa said the stunning revelation his party leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake made in the House on Thursday had prompted the government to prorogue Parliament.

“The government was scared that there would be debate on the Yugadanavi agreement Comrade Anura Kumara Dissanayake tabled in Parliament,” he said.

Meanwhile, sources close to the government rebel factions said one of the reasons for the prorogation of parliament was to dissolve the parliamentary watchdog committee, COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises), which was probing the controversial divestiture of the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology.

Once Parliament is prorogued parliamentary committees including COPE and COPA stand dissolved and new chairpersons have to be appointed to them when parliament reopens.

Deputy Secretary General of Parliament and Chief of Staff Kushani Rohandheera told The Island that a gazette notification the prorogation of Parliament had been issued by the Secretary to the President Dr. P.B Jayasundera.

The gazette notice states that by virtue of the powers vested in him by Article 70 of the Constitution, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has prorogued Parliament with effect from midnight of Dec 12.

The President has declared that the next session of Parliament will be at 10 am on 18 Jan.

A prorogation is a temporary recess of Parliament which should not extend to a period of more than two months.

During the prorogation the Speaker continues to function and the Members retain their membership even though they do not attend meetings of Parliament.

The effect of a prorogation is to suspend all current Business before the House and all proceedings pending at the time are quashed except impeachments.

A Bill, motion or question of the same substance cannot be introduced for a second time during the same Session.  However, it could be carried forward at a subsequent Session after a prorogation.

In terms of Standing Orders of Parliament No. 114, the Committee of Selection has to be appointed and therefore, all the Committees for Special Purposes cease to function during the recess or the prorogation of Parliament and all of them have to be reconstituted at the commencement of each Session of Parliament except the Committee on High Posts, Sectoral Oversight Committees and Select Committees of Parliament as per provisions of Standing Order of Parliament.

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