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PSC has powers to summon persons of any rank, be it Premier, President: Kiriella

Lakshman Kiriella 700 002

Leader of the House and Public Enterprise, Kandyan Heritage and Kandy Development Minister Lakshman Kiriella has expressed the view that the Parliamentary Select Committee has powers to summon persons of any, be it the Prime Minister or President of the country.

He made this observation in Parliament on Tuesday during a crosstalk following an inquiry made by UPFA MP Nimal Lanza, on a letter sent by Attorney General to the Speaker on the PSC.

Kiriella said:

"When the former government appointed a PSC against the then Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, the Court of Appeal gave a ruling against it and ordered that the PSC be suspended. But the then Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa disregarded it. In accordance with a precedent set by a ruling given by former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, the PSC had the powers to summon before it any person irrespective of his or her rank.

The PSC is not an actual court but a place where evidence is collected. Another person can make use of that evidence to prove his or her case before the Supreme Court. During the sessions of the ongoing PSC many unknown facts and details came to light. Some officials were removed from their positions because it transpired during the PSC sessions that they had been responsible for dereliction of duty.

The US, too, appointed a similar committee following the 9/11 attacks. The entire world witnessed those sessions. No US official or politician refused to go before that committee. Those who shout that they will not go before the committee do so out of the fear that their mistakes will be exposed. They evade the PSC because they have things to hide. Any public servant or politician, be it the Prime Minister, or the President, must go before the committee if summoned. That is the parliamentary democracy and parliamentary tradition.

Neither the Supreme Court nor the Attorney General nor the Court of Appeal could meddle with parliamentary affairs. That is a fundamental rule. Therefore, I request all MPs not to challenge the supremacy of Parliament. The PSC would go on. The PSC has exposed many mistakes by various parties that to the terrorists carrying out Easter Sunday carnage."

 

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