Former Western Province Councillor (JVP) Mahinda Jayasinghe today filed a Fundamental Rights petition in Supreme Court seeking a declaration that importation of luxury vehicles for Members of Parliament is illegal.

The petitioner cited Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Finance Ministry Secretary S.R. Attygalle, members of the Cabinet of Ministers and Attorney General as respondents in the petition.

The petitioner stated that the Prime Minister has submitted a special cabinet memorandum on or around May 18, 2021, seeking the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers to import 50 ambulances, 50 water bowsers,  50 double cabs and jeeps for Members of Parliament. The petitioner said the concerned cabinet memorandum had sought the approval to obtain leasing facilities from the Bank of Ceylon and to open Letters of Credit for the importation of the said vehicles.

The petitioner said on May 24, 2021, the Prime Minister had announced that the Cabinet of Ministers decided to suspend the decision to import vehicles following a huge public outcry.

The petitioner states that the public was unaware of the fact that the Letters of Credit have been issued in April 2021 even without obtaining the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers. The petitioner said he believed that the Letters of Credit have been issued much before the Cabinet approval with the ulterior motive of making it even impossible for the Cabinet of Ministers to practically and effectively revisit and reverse the process initiated for such importation.

The petitioner stated that said vehicles are to be imported without charging relevant taxes and duties.

The petitioner alleged that the Cabinet of Ministers had decided to import these vehicles during a situation where the country is facing a severe deficit of foreign currency reserves and struggling to control COVID-19 amidst a lack of health facilities.

The petitioner is also seeking a declaration that the respondents have violated his Fundamental Rights guaranteed under Article 12(1) of the constitution.


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