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Several provisions of Bill inconsistent with Constitution

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The Supreme Court had determined that the Colombo Port City Commission Bill could become law if several provisions therein inconsistent with the Constitution were changed, Parliament was told yesterday.

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, announcing the decision of the Supreme Court, said that the Court had determined that certain provisions of the Bill were not consistent with the Constitution. Those inconsistencies could be rectified as per the directions of the Court. Otherwise, the provisions at issue had to be passed by a special majority in Parliament and approved by the people at a referendum, he added.

 The Speaker’s announcement in Parliament: “I wish to inform the Parliament that I have received the Determination of the Supreme Court in respect of the Bill entitled ” Colombo Port City Economic Commission” which was challenged in the Supreme Court in terms of Article 121 (1) of the constitution.

The determination of the Supreme Court as to the constitutionality of the bill entitled ‘Colombo Port City Economic Commission’ is as follows:

01. The provisions of clauses 3(6), 30 (3) second proviso, 55(2) and 58 (1) of the bill are inconsistent with Article 12 (1) of the constitution and could be validly passed only with the Special Majority provided for in Article 84 (2) of the constitution.

However, the said inconsistencies will cease if the clauses are amended as mentioned in the determination of the Supreme Court.

02. The provisions of clauses 3 (5) proviso, 3 (7), 6 (1) (b), 30 (3) first proviso, 71 (1), and 74 (Interpretation ‘Regulatory Authority”) of the bill are inconsistent with Article 12 (1) of the constitution and could be validly passed only with the Special Majority provided for in Article 84 (2) of the constitution.

However, the said inconsistencies will cease if the clauses are amended as mentioned in the determination of the Supreme Court.

03. The provisions of clauses 3 (4), 6 (1) (u), 68 (1) (f) and 68 )3) are inconsistent with Article 76 read with Articles 3 and 4 of the constitution and could be validly passed only with the Special Majority provided for in Article 84 (2) of the constitution and approved by the People at a Referendum by virtue of the provisions of Article 83.

However, the said inconsistencies will cease if the clauses are amended as mentioned in the determination of the Supreme Court.

04. The provisions of Clause 52 (3) read with clauses 52 (5) and 71 (2) (p) of the bill are inconsistent with Article 148 of the constitution and could be validly passed only with the Special Majority provided for in Article 84 (2) of the constitution and approved by the People at a Referendum by virtue of the provisions of Article 83.

However, the said inconsistencies will cease if the clauses are amended as mentioned in the determination of the Supreme Court.

05. The provisions of Clauses 30 (1), 33 (1), 40 (2), and 71 (2) (l) of the bill are inconsistent with Article 14 (1) (h) of the constitution and could be validly passed only with the Special Majority provided for in Article 84 (2) of the constitution.

However, the said inconsistencies will cease if the clauses are amended as mentioned in the determination of the Supreme Court.

06. The provisions of clauses 53 (2) (b) read with clause 53 (3) (b) of the bill are inconsistent with Article 76 of the constitution read with Articles 3 and 4 of the constitutions and could be validly passed only with the Special Majority provided for in Article 84 (2) of the constitution and approved by the People at a Referendum by virtue of the provisions of Article 83.

However, the said inconsistencies will cease if the clauses are amended as mentioned in the determination of the Supreme Court.

07. The provisions of clauses 60 (c) and clause 60 (f) of the bill are inconsistent with Article 148 of the constitution and could be validly passed only with the Special Majority provided for in Article 84 (2).

However, the said inconsistencies will cease if the clauses are amended as mentioned in the determination of the Supreme Court.

08. The provisions of clause 37 of the bill is inconsistent with Article 12 (1) and 14 (1) (g) of the constitution and could be validly passed only with the Special Majority provided for in Article 84 (2).

However, the said inconsistency will cease if a new sub-clause is added to clause 37 of the bill restraining such authorized person making use of any exemptions or incentives granted under this bill when conducting business outside the area of authority of the Colombo Port City to the detriment of similar businesses conducted outside such area of authority by within the territory of Sri Lanka. The Supreme Court had determined that the rest of the clauses of the bill are not inconsistent with the constitution.



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Debt-ridden CEB goes ahead with shocking pay hike amidst pandemic

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Workers offered 25% increase this year…12% annually over three-year period
 

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Two days after the Presidential Secretariat stated that the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) owed two state banks––Bank of Ceylon and the People’s Bank, a staggering Rs 85 bn, the cash-strapped enterprise announced an annual 12 percent salary increase to its employees.

Vijitha Herath, Chairman, of the CEB, yesterday (15) said that the salary increase in terms of the collective agreement for 2021-2023 period would enable the workers to receive 25 per cent in the first year whereas annually it would be 12 percent over a period of three years.

The ministry said that in spite of severe difficulties caused by the rampaging Covid-19 pandemic, the salary increment was granted in response to workers’ request.

Declaring that the Cabinet and the Board of Directors of the CEB had approved the salary increase, the ministry has sought cooperation of the CEB trade unions to finalise the collective agreement.

The ministry claimed that CEB workers had been granted a spate of privileges not given to other state sector employees hence consensus on collective agreement was expected soon.

The Presidential Secretariat on Sunday explained that one reason for the banking sector crisis was the failure on the part of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the CEB to settle Rs 562 bn and Rs 85 bn, respectively.

The Presidential Secretariat issued the statement in the wake of SLPP General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam, MP, triggering a political storm by demanding Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila’s immediate resignation over recent increase in fuel prices.

The CEB Chairman also claimed that they had been able to bring down the accumulated losses to Rs 56 bn last year from Rs 97 bn in the previous year.

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Indian fishers riled by SL moves to create new fish breeding grounds

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By Dinasena Ratugamage

 

Fishermen from Rameswaran will hold a protest today (16) against Sri Lanka’s decision to submerge 20 old buses in the seas off Jaffna to create breeding grounds for fish.

Members of 17 fisheries associations in Tamil Nadu and Rameswaran claim that this will affect their yield as more fish will be attracted to the breeding grounds created by submerged buses.

The Ministry said that sinking those buses was nothing new and that such buses provided a hard surface for invertebrates to live on, some of which could not live on the sand bottom that is naturally there.

“Some fish are not fast swimmers, so they need a structure to provide both food and shelter; they wouldn’t, for example, be able to outswim a shark, but they could duck into the shelter instead,” a Sri Lankan fisheries association representative said.

However N. Devadas, the head of the Indian fishermen’s association in Rameswaram, said that they would also hand over a petition against that decision to the Sri Lankan government. Sri Lanka has been submerging old SLTB buses in the deep sea for many years as a part of the Deep Sea Fish Development Project.

 

 

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Three more weeks needed to see drop in COVID deaths – Dr. Fernandopulle

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It would take at least three more weeks to see a drop in COVID-19 related deaths in the country, Minister of COVID Disease Control, Dr. Sudharshini Fernandopulle said yesterday.

There had been a drop in the number of cases reported already, she said.

“The number of patients is coming down but there has been an increase in deaths. However, this too will come down.

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