The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) yesterday filed two Special Determination petitions challenging the constitutionality of the bill titled “Colombo Port City Economic Commission”.

The BASL President Saliya Pieris PC and its Secretary Attorney-at-law Rajeev Amarasuriya filed two separate petitions seeking a declaration that the bill in whole or in part requires approval by the people at a referendum and requires a special majority under the provisions of Article 84(2) of the Constitution.

The petitioners state that they filed these applications in their capacity as the President and Secretary of the BASL, under the direction and authorization of the Executive Committee of the BASL, at a Special Meeting held on the 12th of April 2021.

The Petitioners state that the proposed Bill was placed on the Order Paper of Parliament on the 8th of April 2021.

The Petitioner state the proposed Bill is of national importance and can carry tremendous and significant economic benefit to the country. However, the circumstances in which the said Bill was placed on the Order Paper has resulted in a lack of consultation and transparency and there has been insufficient time granted to stakeholders to examine the Bill and its effects in details.

The Petitioner states that the proposed Bill as presently constituted and one or more of its provisions and clauses thereof, in particular, Clauses 3, 4, 6,7, 9, 16, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 55, 58, 62, 63, 64, 68 and 73, are inconsistent with one or more of Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 12(1), 12(2), 14(1)(g), 14(1)(h), 17, 33,75, 76, 126,140, 141,148 and Article 154(G) of the Constitution.



The Petitioners state that Part XIII and Part XIV of the proposed Bill consists of several provisions which will affect the administration of justice and will adversely impact the judicial power of the people, exercised through the courts of law in the republic and are hence inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution in respect of the exercise of the sovereignty of the people.

The Petitioners further states that several clauses of the Bill are contrary to the rule of law and affects the independence of the judiciary. The petitioners further said certain provisions of the bill violate the doctrine of separation of powers and the proposed bill abdicates and alienates the legislative power and sets up an authority (other than Parliament) with legislative power.


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