- SC determines that proper procedure was not followed when placing Bill on Order Paper of Parliament
- President has not referred Bill to all PCs for expression as mandated by Constitution
- Objective of Bill is to frame a national policy on Ruhunu Economic Development to encourage rapid economic development
By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Lobby Correspondent
The Supreme Court has determined that proper procedure was not followed when placing the Ruhunu Economic Development Corporation of Sri Lanka Bill in the Order Paper of Parliament.
“In terms of Article 121 and Article 123 of the Constitution, that seeks the provisions of Clause 16 and Clause 17 of the Bill are in respect are matters set out in the Provincial Council list and the Bill has not been referred by the President to every Provincial Council for the expression of their views as mandatory as required by Article 154 (g) iii of the Constitution,” the Supreme Court said in its determination, which was announced to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday.
The Ruhunu Economic Development Corporation of Sri Lanka Bill was challenged in Court in terms of Article 121 of the Constitution with the argument that “the Bill has not been validly or lawfully placed in the Order Paper of Parliament. Consequently, the Bill can be validly and lawfully placed in the Order Paper of Parliament and be placed before Parliament only after the aforesaid procedure has been complied with.”
The Speaker added that the Supreme Court had further stated that since the Bill had been placed in the Order Paper of Parliament without complying with the provisions of Article 154 (g) iii of the Constitution, it would not at this stage make a determination as to the other grounds telling in respect of this Bill.”
Setting a national policy on Ruhunu Economic Development to encourage rapid economic development, specifically trade, exports, technology, tourism and modern agriculture employment opportunities to secure sustainable economic development, the Government moved the Ruhunu Economic Development Corporation of Sri Lanka Bill in Parliament on 21 August.
The Bill provides for the establishment of the Ruhunu Economic Development Corporation of Sri Lanka for the purpose of identifying, formulating and coordinating the implementation of economic development projects, plans, programs or schemes within the Ruhunu Development Area and for matters connected.
The Bill received from the Legal Draftsman, prepared along the lines of the Greater Colombo Economic Commission, will support establishing export-oriented special economic zones attracting foreign investors and creating employment for youth in Southern Sri Lanka.
According to Government plans, Ruhuna and Hambantota have been earmarked to establish an investment zone to compete with those in the Western Province. Export Processing Zones are expected to be established in Galle and Matara with several large tourism zones reaching 500 acres also to be set up by the Government.