Special Rights and Privileges of the Parliamentarians in Sri Lanka


I am not too sure with this law or tradition where the Members of Parliament (MPs) enjoy a special right or privilege when it comes to them being arrested as suspects of crimes. When an MP is to be arrested, the police need to inform (or is it get permission?) from the Speaker of the House. They say all are equal before the law of a country but why the MPs are treated as in the case of George Orwell’s political novel “Animal Farm” where “some pigs are more equals than the others?” (Pun intended.)

I spoke to a few lawyers to get clarification on the above-mentioned right. Is it a legal right or a special privilege the MPs enjoy? But all the lawyers I contacted said they are not certain about it. (Oh those lawyers!) 

If this is a privilege in a European or a North American country, I won’t mind as the MPs in those countries mostly respect themselves, the law of the land, the people they represent. But in this part of the world, the MPs are worse than the general public and so I am of the view that the Sri Lankan MPs should NOT be granted such special rights or privileges.  The people who make laws and policies for the country should have a cleaner track record than the rest of the citizens and if the former hide under the privileges and evade law being exercised against them, how can they represent us, the citizens? In our parliament since Independence, we have had more criminals (murderers, rapists, child abusers, drug dealers, rogue businessmen, illegal brothel owners, liquor shop owners, swindlers of public funds, bribe-takers, ransom demanders, tax evaders and what not?) in the parliament than out of it, if one looks at the statistics as a percentage. 

So, I would suggest that these rights and privileges are taken off at least until the public votes in saner and honest representatives to the parliament to represent them.  

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