TISL files FR petition on economic crisis

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A Fundamental Rights petition was filed in the Supreme Court by Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) and three others, calling for action against persons responsible for the present economic crisis in Sri Lanka.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, former Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, former Treasury Secretary S.R. Attygalle, and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe were among the 13 respondents named in the petition.

The Petition was filed against the lack of accountability and transparency in high-level decision-making that has resulted in the present crisis, while citing a number of factors leading to the crisis.

The factors cited in the Petition is the reduction in government revenue caused by the illegal and arbitrary tax breaks granted in 2019, failure to reverse the illegal tax break, failure to take remedial measures subsequent to rating downgrades, failure to devalue the Sri Lankan Rupee in a timely, orderly, and appropriate manner despite widespread calls to do so, the decision to continue servicing sovereign debt without any restructuring, and the refusal to seek the assistance of the IMF until the crisis had exacerbated.

The Petitioners argue that the fundamental rights of the citizens to equality, freedom of expression, and the right to information guaranteed under the Constitution have been violated through the actions or inactions of the respondents.

The petitioners noted that the respondents named in the petition are directly responsible for the unsustainability of Sri Lanka’s foreign debt, its hard default on foreign loan repayments, and the present state of the economy of Sri Lanka.

Further, they said the inaction of the respondents has led to the present shortages of food, medicine, fuel and gas in the country, victimising the entire population in an unprecedented manner.

(FT)