Ni­hal Senevi­ratne,

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - COMMENT/NEWS -

whether any of them had signed the mo­tion. I learned that all of them had said “No” in­clud­ing pos­si­bly a few who had signed. By noon the MPs had left the Speaker’s cham­bers but he did not tell me what this was all about.

After the mem­bers left the Speaker’s cham­bers, Min­is­ter Lalith Athu­lad­mu­dali walked into my room. I asked him, “Lalith, why are you rock­ing the boat?” His in­stant re­ply was “don’t ask me that question? Ad­dress it to your Speaker.” I re­mained silent.

Un­der pro­vi­sions of the Con­sti­tu­tion, Ar­ti­cle 38(1) spec­i­fies that such an Im­peach­ment mo­tion must be signed by not less than two thirds of the Mem­bers of the House. Ar­ti­cle 70(1)c con­tin­ues to spec­ify that once such a mo­tion is re­ceived by the Pres­i­dent he shall not dis­solve Par­lia­ment. Hav­ing been pre­vented from dis­solv­ing Par­lia­ment, the Pres­i­dent used his right to pro­rogue Par­lia­ment, his le­gal en­ti­tle­ment, re-sum­mon­ing Par­lia­ment on Sept. 24.

I must say here that the cir­cum­stances re­lat­ing to the prepa­ra­tion and draft­ing of the ac­tual mo­tion of im­peach­ment was one of the most closely guarded se­crets ever. That was what pre­vented Anil Moonesingh­e from elab­o­rat­ing on what he was talk­ing about when he came to my room and made that puz­zling re­mark. As far as I know, in all my 34 years of par­lia­men­tary ser­vice there has never been such a closely guarded se­cret. The clos­est such event was when 17 gov­ern­ment MPs led by C.P. de Silva crossed over to the op­po­si­tion to top­ple the Sir­ima Ban­daranaike gov­ern­ment by a sin­gle vote at the end of the throne speech de­bate on the press takeover at­tempt. It was be­lieved that J.R. Jayewar­dene planned this move and kept it a se­cret as far as pos­si­ble.

As for the im­peach­ment mo­tion, I have not to date seen the ac­tual mo­tion or even a copy of it but it is be­lieved that it was con­tained in two to three A4 pages

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