Proposal seeking PUCSL chairman’s removal tabled in parliament

The motion seeking the removal of Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL) Chairman Janaka Ratnayake from the institution’s membership and chairmanship has been tabled in the parliament.

The proposal was presented by Leader of the House, Minister Susil Premajayantha, pursuant to Section 07 of the PUCSL Act.

Presenting the proposal, Minister Premajayantha deemed Ratnayake unfit to continue to serve as the PUCSL chairman and member.

A full-day parliamentary debate is taking place today (May 24) from 10.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. on the proposal to oust Ratnayake as the PUCSL chairman.

Before the debate got underway, Prof. Charitha Herath suggested that the parliament should hold a vote on a report compiled by a sub-committee consisting of the ruling party and opposition MPs after studying the reports of both the PUCSL chairman and the Finance Minister.

Power & Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera, who commenced the debate, said five allegations are levelled against the PUCSL chairman.

Citing a court ruling, Wijesekera accused Ratnayake of acting against the autonomy of the PUCSL and disregarding the majority opinion of the commission’s members.

He went on to refuse the claims by the opposition and Ratnayake that the government is attempting to interfere with the autonomy of independent commissions.

The Committee on Parliamentary Business fixed the date for the debate at its recent meeting chaired by Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.

Ahead of the parliamentary debate, calling a media briefing on Tuesday (May 23), the PUCSL chief slammed the proposal to oust him as “politically motivated”.

He also expressed confidence that “true” public representatives would stand by him.

Ratnayake accused the government of attempting to interfere with the autonomy of independent commissions and exert pressure on public sector employees who do not give into political influence.

The parliamentary debate follows a lengthy spat between the PUCSL chairman and Power & Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera over several issues including the electricity tariff hike and the duration of power interruptions.

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