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Speaker bars outsiders from PSC meetings

Speaker bars outsiders from PSC meetings

20 Nov 2023 | BY Buddhika Samaraweera

  • Prior written approval from Speaker required 
  • Comm. members/non-comm. MPs approved by comm. chairs / Officials summoned / P’ment officials are excused 


The Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana informed the House in a special statement yesterday (20) that no outsiders are allowed to enter the meeting rooms during Parliamentary committee meetings.

Thus, Speaker Abeywardana pointed out that except for members of the committees, other Parliamentarians who are not committee members but attend a committee meeting at the invitation of the committee member MPs and with the proper approval of the particular committee’s chairperson, the officials of external institutions summoned before the committees, and Parliamentary officials, if an outsider is to attend any Parliamentary committee meeting, prior written approval of the Speaker must be obtained.

The Speaker, who expressed that he has received information regarding various occasions of committee chairpersons going beyond their scope of work in the respective committee, emphasised that all committee chairpersons are bound by Parliamentary Standing Orders to act in a manner that preserves the long-standing traditions of Parliament. If a chairperson of a certain committee wishes to obtain the services of an outsider, voluntarily, or in some other way, to coordinate the committee's affairs, Abeywardana emphasised that his prior approval should be obtained for such in writing.

Furthermore, he informed that it must be ensured that the press releases that are issued include only the matters approved by the relevant committees, and in a manner that the Government officials of various Ministries, Departments, and statutory or non-statutory bodies called before the committees, are not inconvenienced. "Committees should also work to issue press releases and letters only on matters approved by the committees in a balanced manner without harming the dignity of Parliament."

The Speaker further affirmed that official letterheads should not be utilised for any personal or political errands under any circumstances.

The Speaker’s special statement comes in the aftermath over the controversy surrounding the participation of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) Chairman and Government MP Prof. Ranjith Bandara’s son, Kanishka Bandara, during the recent COPE meeting held with Sri Lanka Cricket officials. The main Parliamentary Opposition Party, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya had even requested Speaker Abeywardana to investigate into the incident, and take appropriate actions.

According to the relevant Standing Orders, Parliament, apart from the Committee of the whole Parliament, has several types of committees such as Parliamentary select committees, sectoral oversight committees, Ministerial consultative committees, legislative standing committees, and committees appointed for special purposes.



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