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SJB to discuss Ranjan today 

By Sumudu Chamara 

 

The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) parliamentary group is scheduled to meet today (18) afternoon to discuss future political decisions regarding the imprisoned SJB Parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake and the fate of Ramanayake’s parliamentary seat that has become vacant due to the four-year jail term he received.

At today’s meeting, the SJB parliamentary group will also look into the possibility of obtaining a presidential pardon for Ramanayake, SJB National Organiser Tissa Attanayake told The Morning, adding that several discussions are already underway regarding political decisions that need to be taken in light of Ramanayake’s sentence.

“There is no way we can intervene in the process of appointing a new parliamentarian to Ramanayake’s place. That happens according to the Constitution. The Constitution stipulates that in the event a parliamentarian is sentenced to more than two years in prison, that person becomes ineligible to contest in an election. Furthermore, according to the Constitution, if a parliamentarian gets a jail term exceeding six months, that person loses his parliamentary seat. In this context, there is a discussion about whether Ramanayake’s parliamentary seat will remain his for six months, and we are looking into this matter as well. However, if Ramanayake’s parliamentary seat becomes vacant, that decision has to be informed to Parliament as well as the Election Commission, for it to come into effect.”

He went on to say that if Ramanayake loses his parliamentary seat, the SJB candidate who has obtained the next highest number of preferential votes, Ajith Mannapperuma, would receive that seat.
He added that the SJB has also sought the opinion of legal experts regarding the possibility of filing a revision against the verdict given by the Supreme Court on Ramanayake’s case, since they have received mixed opinions about the possibility of further legal action. 

“Some have argued that there is a possibility of filing a revision, while some have stated that it is not possible. Also, there are no adequate precedents regarding cases of this nature. Taking all these into consideration, the SJB has sought the opinion of legal experts.” 

The Supreme Court (SC) sentenced the actor turned politician and SJB Parliamentarian to four years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) over charges of being in contempt of court on 12 January. The case was filed against the former State Minister for allegedly making remarks defamatory to the judiciary in August 2017 when he addressed the media and claimed that the majority of the country’s judges issued partisan rulings and were corrupt.