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Opposition walkout ridicules Parliamentary traditions

University academics yesterday said opposition MPs have ridiculed Parliamentary traditions by walking out from the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) appointed by the Speaker to investigate the impeachment charges against Chief Justice Dr Shirani Bandaranayake.

The academics said it was a suspicious move by opposition parliamentarians to walk out from the PSC after they had participated in the same committee to hear the impeachment charges.

Open University's Department of Mathematics and Engineering lecturer Nemsiri Jayathilaka said: "The impeachment trial against Chief Justice Dr Shirani Bandaranayake is a constitutional process and the PSC was appointed by the Speaker of Parliament to conduct that trial."

"The act of opposition MPs stands to hamper a legitimate Parliamentary process. Their actions are against Parliamentary traditions," he said.

"The MPs should act to preserve the supremacy of Parliament, but they have done just the opposite in this case," Jayathilaka said. He said once the Speaker appoints a committee to perform a task, the committee is expected to be agreeable.

In this case, the Opposition MPs who first obeyed the Speaker's orders to conduct the PSC process, walked out of the PSC before the process ended, the academics said. Jayathilaka said: " I think that Speaker Rajapaksa has to do something about this. One must not forget there are local and international elements trying to take advantage of the impeachment hearing against the Chief Justice to destabilise the country."

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