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Ranil gets stumped on Standing Orders 



By Saman Indrajith

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena yesterday (20) informed Parliament that the amendments tabled by UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) tabled against Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila could not be accepted.

 The Speaker informed the House that the amendment was against Standing Orders.

 UNP Leader Wickremesinghe on Monday (19) proposed that the NCM, tabled by the SJB against Minister Udaya Gammanpila, be amended as a no-faith motion against the government.

The Speaker yesterday said: “I wish to make a ruling on the amendment to the no-confidence motion which was handed over to the Secretary General of Parliament by Ranil Wickremasinghe MP yesterday.

“The no-confidence motion which was given notice of by 43 Members of the Opposition is in respect of Udaya Gammanpila, Minister of Energy, and the notice relating to the motion was handed over to the Parliament Secretariat on the 22nd of June, 2021 and was included in the Order Book of Parliament on the 23rd of June, 2021. The Committee on Parliamentary Business on the 5th of July, 2021 decided to take up the Motion for debate on two consecutive days including a special sitting day on the 19th of July 2021 and the 20th of July, 2021.

“The notice of the substantive motion of no confidence had no indication that it could finally be converted into a no-confidence motion on the Cabinet of Ministers which is the government. The Committee on the Parliamentary Business was also not informed that an amendment would be moved to convert the no-confidence motion against the Minister of Energy to be a no-confidence motion against the government. Furthermore, the debate that took place yesterday in the House was very much focused on the no-confidence motion against a single Minister namely, Udaya Gammanpila.

“The legal effect of the amendment handed over to the Secretary General of Parliament by Ranil Wickremesinghe is to convert the no-confidence motion moved against Udaya Gammanpila to assume a new status as a No confidence Motion against the Cabinet of Ministers which is the Government. This was not intended at any stage since notice was given on the Motion.

Standing Order 43 (4) states as follows; ‘An amendment to a question shall be relevant to the question to which such amendment is proposed’.

“According to this principle, the proposed amendment must be relevant to the Motion and fall within the scope of the original motion moved in the House. According to the Indian authority ‘Practice and Procedure of Parliament’ by Kaul and Shakdher sixth edition page 705 ” In order that an amendment to a motion may be admissible, it must satisfy the following conditions; An amendment should be relevant to, and within the scope of the motion to which it is proposed. It should not introduce new or foreign matter or widen the scope of the motion”. Accordingly, an amendment which seeks to convert a No Confidence Motion against a Minister to that of a No Confidence Motion against the Cabinet of Ministers is certainly not within the scope of the original motion and nor it is relevant to the original motion either.

“The Standing Order 43 (5) states as follows; An amendment shall not raise any question which, by the rules of Parliament can only be raised by a substantive motion after notice.”

“We are well aware that a No Confidence Motion against the Cabinet of Ministers could only be brought forward by a substantive motion after due notice is given. Any attempt to subvert this process by bringing an amendment to that effect to an existing No Confidence Motion against a Minister is out of order and contravenes the Standing Orders.

“In the above circumstances, I rule that the proposed amendment to the No Confidence Motion against Udaya Gammanpila, Minister of Energy handed over to the Secretary General of Parliament by Ranil Wickremasinghe MP is out of order, and cannot be accepted.”

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Shocking 17,500 video clips of Lankan children being sexually abused



By Norman Palihawadane

There were over 17,500 video clips of Sri Lankan children being sexually abused, on the Internet and action had been taken to arrest those responsible, Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said yesterday. The Sri Lanka Police had sought the assistance of international law enforcement agencies and the Internet service providers to track down the persons involved in uploading those video clips and child sex trafficking via internet, the SDIG said.

Crimes against children in Sri Lanka were rising at an alarming speed, the SDIG said.

The police would conduct a special awareness programme together with the National Child Protection Authority to curb the alarming trend, he said.

The first programme was held recently in Nuwara Eliya where it especially focused apprising police officers attached to that Division.

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Private buses to insist that inter-provincial commuters carry proof of vaccination?



By Rathindra Kuruwita

A limited number of Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) and National Transport Commission (NTC) buses and trains would maintain limited inter- provincial operation from 01 August, State Minister of Transport, Dilum Amunugma said.

The State Minister said that certified documents issued by the respective depot superintendents and the letters of approval by the NTC were mandatory, he added.

“The buses and trains will be permitted to operate only in the morning and in the evening for office workers,” Amunugma said.

The State Minister added that passengers should behave responsibly when using the inter-provincial transport services and understand that those services were only for commuters engaged in essential services.

“The Delta variant is spreading rapidly. If one infected passenger travels in a bus, all other commuters will contract it” he warned.

The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) has decided to make proof of vaccination compulsory for inter provincial travel from 01 August

LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne said they had written to the President and Transport Minister asking for permission to enforce it.

Wijeratne said that all bus operators in the Western Province should ensure they were inoculated by August 15.



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TNA Leader complains against appointing Sinhala officers to Tamil areas



By Dinasena Ratugamage

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Leader, R. Sampanthan had written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, objecting to the appointment of Sinhala government officers to the Northern Province, former TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah told journalists on Wednesday (28.)

The President and the Prime Minister are appointing officials violating democratic principles, Senathirajah said after a meeting of party activists at Karachchi Divisional Secretariat Office, Kilinochchi.

“A lot of Sinhalese are appointed to the North and the East. They must appoint Tamils. These appointments undermine our struggle for a just language policy,” he said.

Senathirajah said that it was customary to appoint Tamil officers to Tamil majority areas. However, this tradition was being violated increasingly in recent times, the former MP said.

“The TNA has nothing against Sinhala government officers. However, appointing Sinhala state officers to majority Tamil areas is a great injustice to the people. So, our leader has written to the President and the Prime Minister asking them to stop this practice,” he said.

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