Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) former Parliamentarian Sunil Hadunneththi today filed a Special Determination petition in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the Finance Bill that makes provisions to grant tax amenities.

Hadunneththi is seeking a declaration that the bill requires the approval of people at a referendum and requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

Hadunneththi said the whole purpose of the Bill is inconsistent with Article 12(1) of the Constitution as it negates the fundamental principle of equality by allowing people who have used illegal methods to accumulate money, income and assets to legalize their illegal acts and sources of funds.

The Petitioner states that Section 04 of the said Bill provides for persons who have accumulated unlawful and illegal undisclosed supplies, income or assets can pay a “Tax on Voluntary Disclosure” which is one per cent of the value of such supply, income or asset which is to be disclosed.

The petitioner states that the purpose of the said bill is to extend immunity to persons who have accrued unlawful and illegal undisclosed taxable supplies, income and assets and to accommodate such persons to invest such undisclosed taxable supplies, income or assets in the following.

(i) shares issued by a resident company.

(ii) treasury bills or treasury bonds issued by the Central Bank on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka.

(iii) any quoted debt securities issued by a resident company in Sri Lanka.

(iv) any movable or immovable property in Sri Lanka, on or after the date of commencement of this Act but before December 31, 2021.

He states that it also enables such person to deposit such money in bank accounts.

The Petitioner states that Section 6 of the Bill ensures that such a person shall be entitled to enjoy full immunity from liability to pay any tax, penalty or interest from any investigation or prosecution.

The Petitioner states that Section 7 provides that such declaration will be preserved in absolute secrecy including the identity of the declarant.

The Petitioner states that Section 7 further provides that notwithstanding anything contrary to any other law the Commissioner-General of Inland Revenue shall write off the due taxes payable under the Value Added Tax Act.

The Petitioner further states that Section 13 provides that the Commissioner-General shall write off any penalty or interest calculated in terms of the provisions of any law specified in schedule I or IV of the Bill.

The Petitioner states that the purpose of the said Bill is to extend immunity on the persons who have defrauded different kinds of taxes due under the revenue laws and also to exonerate persons who have been enriched by receiving bribery, commissions and ransom.

The Petitioner states that there is a large number of Members in the Parliament who have been charged for corruption, bribery and taking commissions from public funds and transactions and this bill essentially allows all of them and their associates to legalize those past transactions.

The Petitioner states that this Bill is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution and in the event, it is to be passed in the Parliament it requires to be approved with the 2/3rd majority in the Parliament and the approval of the people at the referendum.

The petitioner further said the Bill is inconsistent with Article 12(2) of the Constitution because it is discriminatory to the law-abiding citizens as against corrupted people who have defrauded statutory taxes causing losses to the state.


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