Sri Lanka in new statute crisis over jailing of MP

Sri Lanka was plunged Wednesday into a constitutional crisis over the jailing of a key opposition MP, prompting calls for parliament to assert its power over the judiciary. Sri Lanka was plunged Wednesday into a constitutional crisis over the jailing of a key opposition MP, prompting calls for parliament to assert its power over the judiciary. Leading opposition legislator Mahinda Wijesekera said his colleague S.B. Dissanayake, jailed Tuesday for two years for contempt of the Supreme Court, could carry on as a member of parliament despite being in prison.

Wijesekera also appealed to President Chandrika Kumaratunga to pardon the MP, her confidant until he defected to the opposition in 2001 and began accusing her of incompetence.

Wijesekera argued there was no constitutional provision to stop Dissanayake from carrying out his work as a lawmaker despite the sentence that has created a political uproar.

“We want you to use the powers of parliament and ensure that Hon. Dissanayake is brought to this House to exercise his powers and privileges as a member of parliament,” Wijesekera told Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara.

Using an earlier precedent, opposition MP