The Supreme Court today concluded oral submissions put forward by petitioners who filed Special Determination petitions challenging the constitutionality of the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill.

A Supreme Court five-judge-bench comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare, Justice PriyanthaJayawardena, Justice Murdu Fernando and Justice Janak de Silva fixed the petitions for further hearing for tomorrow (21). The intervention petitioners are to present their oral submissions from tomorrow 10am.

President’s Counsel Wijedasa Rajapakshaappearing for Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera submitted to the court that the issue is not of the determination of constitutionality, but of whether Sri Lanka as a nation will survive or not, following the enactment of this bill.

He said the proposed bill would  form a completely new territory with a delegation of executive, legislative and judicial powers to the Commission proposed to be established and private entities within the said Zone.

Rajapaksha said that the Zone is not subject to laws and regulations of the Municipal Council and Urban Development Authority. “No representatives are elected from the Zone. Thereby the democracy is completely negated and denied to the people in the Zone. Therefore, there will be two territories and the Zone will be an exclusively a separated territory which will be created by the legislature. Such territory is not less than the strength of a separate country as meant in 157(a) of the Constitution,” Rajapaksha added.

Rajapaksha further said the proposed bill poses a threat to the National Security. “The zone has been exempted from the Customs Ordinance. The Customs is debarred from exercising its powers within the Zone and the people in the Zone. There may be importation of prohibited substances such as drugs, weapons etc. South jetty of the Colombo Port is situated adjoining the said Zone and it is controlled by the company belonging to Chinese government. There is a turmoil situation prevailing in the region as well as in the World due to the power struggle between China on one side and India, USA, Europe, Japan on the other side. This kind of unprecedented facilitation to China would undoubtedly expose the Whole country to danger,” said Rajapaksa.

Meanwhile, President’s Counsel IkramMohammed appearing for BASL President Saliya Pieris stated that there is no indication who should be the members of the commission. He feared that there is a possibility of appointing foreigners as the members of the commission contrary to the country’s national interests. He further said there is no indication regarding the qualifications of the commission members.

Meanwhile, eleven intervention petitioners including Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris, Secretary to the President Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) General Secretary Attorney-At-Law Sagara Kariyawasam, Athulade Silva, SLPP Lawyers’ Association, Secretary to the Minister of Finance and Secretary to the Cabinet Ministers have sought the Court’s permission to present their submissions, in support of the bill.

The Chief Justice announced that intervention petitioners would be given an opportunity to present their submissions from tomorrow 10am.



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