SC determines some clauses in Port City Bill inconsistent with Constitution

The Supreme Court has determined that some clauses in the Port City Economic Commission Bill are inconsistent with the Constitution.

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena today announced in Parliament the determination of the Supreme Court (SC) after the Bill was challenged in court by several political parties and others.

In its determination, the Supreme Court found that some clauses in the Port City Economic Commission Bill are inconsistent with the Constitution and can be made valid if amended or passed through a referendum and special majority.

The Supreme Court has determined that the provisions of Clauses 3(6), 30(3) second proviso, 55(2) and 58(1) of the Bill are inconsistent with Article 12(1) of the Constitution and could be validly passed only with the special majority provided for in Article 84(2) of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court also determined that the provisions of Clauses 3(5) proviso, 3(7), 6(1)(b), 30(3) first proviso, 71(1) and 74 [interpretation “Regulatory Authority”] of the Bill are inconsistent with Article 12(1) of the Constitution and could be validly passed only with the special majority provided for in Article 84(2) of the Constitution.

In its determination, the court also found that provisions of Clauses 3(4), 6(1)(u), 68(l)(f) and 68(3)(a) are inconsistent with Article 76 read with Articles 3 and 4 of the Constitution and could be validly passed only with the special majority provided for in Article 84(2) of the Constitution and approved by the People at a Referendum by virtue of the provisions of Article 83.

The Supreme Court found that provisions of Clause 52(3) read with Clauses 52(5) and 71(2)(p) of the Bill are inconsistent with Article 148 of the Constitution read with Articles 3, 4 and 76 of the Constitution and could be validly passed only with the special majority provided for in Article 84(2) of the Constitution and approved by the People at a Referendum by virtue of the provisions of Article 83.

The court found that the provisions of Clauses 30(1 ), 33(1 ), 40(2) and 71 (2)(1) of the Bill are inconsistent with Article 14(1)(h) of the Constitution and could be validly passed only with the special majority provided for in Article 84(2) of the Constitution.

The court also found that the provisions of Clause 53(2)(b) read with Clause 53(3)(b) of the Bill is inconsistent with Article 76 of the Constitution read with Articles 3 and 4 of the Constitution and could be validly passed only with the special majority provided for in Article 84(2) of the Constitution and approved by the People at a Referendum by virtue of the provisions of Article 83.

The court also determined that the provisions of Clauses 60(c) and Clause 60(f) of the Bill is inconsistent with Article 148 of the Constitution and could be validly passed only with the special majority provided for in Article 84(2) of the Constitution.

It also found that the provisions of Clause 37 of the Bill is inconsistent with Article 12(1) and 14(1)(g) of the Constitution and could be validly passed only with the special majority provided for in Article 84(2) of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court determined that if the amendments suggested by the Court are applied then the Bill and its provisions will cease to be inconsistent with the Constitution.

Nineteen petitions were filed against the Bill titled “Colombo Port City Economic Commission” which was published in the Government Gazette on 19th March 2021 and was placed on the Order Paper of Parliament on 8th April 2021. (Colombo Gazette)

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