Sarath N Silva Responds To Speaker's Statement: "Speaker's Role Is Akin To That Of Umpire: He Cannot Side With Various Teams"

November 07, 2018

Former Chief Justice Sarath N Silva, a strong supporter of newly appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, said the Speaker's role in Parliament was akin to that of an umpire in a cricket match. 

"When a match starts the umpire has to deliver his decisions in a fair and impartial manner. When there is no cricket match, the umpire cannot side with various teams and declare his decisions. He does not exercise influence over individual teams," Silva said, expressing his opinion on the statement issued by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya recognizing Ranil Wickremesinghe as the lawful Prime Minister. 

"It is beyond the Speaker's authority to recognize the legitimacy of governments. It comes under the purview of the President. The Speaker's duty is to preside over the proceedings of the House when it is convened," he said.

The former Chief Justice said the Speaker should work in accordance with the constitution, its provisions, and standing orders. "A cursory glance at the constitution will give him enough insight into what his powers are."

"By overstepping the constitutional procedures, the Speaker is triggering a larger crisis," he added, stating that Jayasuriya should refrain from making comments on matters falling beyond his scope of work. 

This, the former Chief Justice said, could even cripple the entire Parliamentary system of Sri Lanka. 

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