MPs Johnston, Indika sacked from house
By Kelum Bandara
Mar 10, 2010
In a strange twist of events, Ministers Johnston Fernando and Indika Bandaranaike, who joined the ruling UPFA from the UNP, ceased to hold their MP posts from yesterday in the reconvened Parliament since they had withdrawn a Supreme Court case challenging their expulsion from the UNP.

Parliament was reconvened yesterday on a presidential proclamation to pass the emergency regulations for a further period of one month.They switched their allegiance to the government and accepted ministerial portfolios during the presidential election period. Subsequently, the UNP expelled them from the party. However, the two dissidents went to court against their expulsions.

However, after the dissolution of Parliament on February, they withdrew their cases as the Supreme Court dismissed the cases.

Asked for comments in this regard, Secretary General of Parliament Dammika Kitulgoda told Daily Mirror that the two members ceased to be MPs from March 9 when Parliament was reconvened by the President.

Mr. Kitulgoda said that the President could only reconvene the dissolved Parliament for the purpose of passing the emergency regulations, but Mr. Fernando and Mr. Bandaranaike ceased to be MPs any further under the present legal circumstances.

Once a dissolved Parliament is reconvened to extend the State of Emergency, all the members become MPs again till the next Parliament meets on April 22.

Mr. Fernando and Mr. Bandaranayake couldn’t sit as MPs in the House during this period under the present situation.

Mr. Kitulgoda will inform Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake in writing today about the cancellation of the MP posts of these two members from yesterday.

Two UNP members Anura Gopallawa and D.M. Bandaranayake who were next in line of the preferential votes list can take oath as MPs when Parliament meets next time on April 6. Mr. Fernando contested the 2004 general election from the Kurunegala district and got elected to Parliament with over 100,000 preferential votes. He came second in the list next to former MP Gamini Jayawickrama Perera. Mr. Bandaranaike was also elected as an MP in 2004 from the same district.

In the last Parliament, over 40 members elected on the UNP ticket teamed up with the ruling UPFA and held different portfolios. When the UNP expelled them from the party, they went to court and sought legal redress to retain their positions as MPs. None of them lost their MP posts.

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama also filed a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court challenging his expulsion from the UNP in 2004.

However, the Court determined that he could hold a ministerial post in the government while remaining as a UNP MP.

Johnston Fernando was not available for comment in this regard. However, Indika Bandaranayake said that he is unaware of this sudden move.

“I can check and make a comment only tomorrow,” he said.

Courtesy: Daily Mirror