Colombo Port City Economic Commission: SC to Consider Petitions Against Bill Today
By Hansi Nanayakkara
The special petitions filed by the United National Party, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and representatives of civil organisations, against the Colombo Port City Economic Commission draft Bill, presented in the Parliament, are scheduled to be taken up for consideration by a Five-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice, from today (19).
The Bench comprises Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya and Justices Buwaneka Aluvihare, Priyantha Jayawardena, Murdhu Fernando and Janak de Silva The Attorney General has been named as respondent in the petitions.
The petitioners have pointed out that the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka could be harmed due to establishing a Port City Economic Commission and assigning authority, granting huge tax relief to businesses in the Port City, establishing a separate structure of administration external to that of the country, implementing offshore financial centres, granting tax holidays of 40 years and opening a path for salaries without taxes and money laundering.
It has been further stated in the petitions that by assigning power through a Commission there could be a threat to the national economy of the country as well as to national security.
Accordingly, the petitioners have prayed the Supreme Court to issue a ruling that if this Bill presented in Parliament is to be adopted and legalised, it requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament as well as a referendum.
These petitions were filed in the Supreme Court by Chairman of the United National Party, Vajira Abeywardena and the Party’s General Secretary Palitha Range Bandara, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, President of the Association of Sri Lankan Professionals G. Kamal Renuka Perera, General Secretary of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya Ranjith Madduma Bandara, the Center for Policy Alternatives and its Executive Director Pakiyasothy Saravanamuttu, Party representatives including Anton Marcus and a group of civil organisation representatives.