ECONOMYNEXT- The main opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) said that Ajith Mannaperuma will replace Ranjan Ramanayake in Parliament if the actor-politician loses the seat in the wake of his sentencing for contempt of court.
Ramanayake was sentenced to four years Rigorous Imprisonment by the Supreme Court yesterday for saying ninety-per cent of lawyers and judges are corrupt at a 2017 press conference.
Ramanayake has refused to withdraw his statements or issue an apology. “I spoke the truth,” he said in a public statement.
Speaking to media this morning, SJB MP Ashok Abeysinghe said that usually when an MP is imprisoned on charges of slandering the Judiciary, the MP will lose the seat in six months from the day of his imprisonment.
“It is a legal opinion, so the lawyers should look it up, he was imprisoned yesterday but in order to lose his MP seat he should be imprisoned for more than 6 months,” he added.
Also speaking to media SJB MP Harsha de Silva said that he believes the penalty given to Ramanayake was way too harsh for the offence he has committed.
Further, he said Article 89 (d) of the constitution, states, “if he is serving or has during the period of seven years immediately preceding completed serving of a sentence of imprisonment (by whatever name called) for a term not less than six months imposed after conviction by any court for an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term not less than two years,”
However, he said according to their knowledge the constitution does not provide a term of imprisonment for contempt of court, so the judge can give a term of imprisonment which he thinks is suitable.
Lawyer Suren Fernando concurred saying that Ramanayake should be able to continue as an MP.
The Constitution does not prescribe a term of imprisonment for contempt of court.
Therefore @RamanayakeR is not disqualified by virtue of A.89(d), and should be entitled to continue functioning as a MP.
— Suren Fernando (@SurenFernando) January 13, 2021
Therefore, he said there are various legal opinions being presented about the possibility of whether Ramanayake will lose his parliamentary seat. (Colombo/Jan13/2021)
Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe