SC concludes hearing into Finance Bill: Determination to be referred to Speaker & President


The Supreme Court yesterday, July 29, concluded arguments put forward in support and against the proposed Finance Bill.

Accordingly, all parties relating to the Special Determination petitions were directed to submit their written submissions before August 2.

Later on, the Supreme Court’s determination over the proposed bill is to be communicated to the President and the Speaker.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General presented in court a list of amendments to be moved at the committee stage of the parliament.

Senior State Counsel, Nirmalan Wigneswaran appearing for the Attorney General informed the court that certain amendments will be brought to clauses 4, 5, 6, 12, 13, 14 and 17 of the bill at the committee stage.

In his submissions, Nirmalan Wigneswaran stated that granting tax amnesty would intend to bring people into the tax net and he reiterated that the bill does not help at all for money laundering.

Eight petitions have been filed against the Finance Bill which was placed on the order paper of Parliament on July 29. They are: Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) General Secretary – Ranjith Madduma Bandara, SJB Parliamentarian – Eran Wickremaratne, JVP former Parliamentarian – Sunil Hadunneththi, former Deputy Secretary of the Ceylon Bank Employees Union (CBEU) – Ekeshwara Kottegoda Vithana, former UNP Parliamentarian – Saman Rathnapriya, Nagananda Kodituwakku and Centre for Policy Alternative.

The petitioners are seeking a declaration that the Bill in whole or in part requires the approval by people at a Referendum and requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

The Petitioners alleged that the purpose of the said Bill is to extend immunity and immunity to the persons who have defrauded different kinds of taxes due under the revenue laws.

President’s Counsel – M. A. Sumanthiran, Srinath Perera PC, Senior Counsel – Viran Corea, Counsel – Dharshana Weraduwage, Suren Fernando, Eraj de Silva and Shantha Jayawardena appeared for the petitioners.