United People’s Freedom Party (UPFA) Parliamentarian and Pivithuru Hela Urumaya(PHU) leader Udaya Gammanpila yesterday filed a petition challenging the VAT amendment Bill presented in Parliament on Tuesday, as unconstitutional.
Gammanpila filed his petition for a Special Determination from the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the said Bill.
The first to be submitted against the revised VAT Amendment Bill, the petition claims that the removal of the clause exempting health services from VAT through the proposed amendment “is illogical and unreasonable, discriminatory and arbitrary.” He claims that the exemptions given in the new amendment “have no rationale or reasonable objective basis.”
Gammanpiila’s petition also claims that Clause 18 of the proposed bill attempts to legalise the “unlawful collection of Value Added Tax” from 1 May till the future date the bill is passed in parliament.
He further claims that Clauses 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15 and 16 of the said Bill are in violation of Articles 3, 4(d), 12(1), 12(2), and 14(1) (g) of the Constitution.
In August the first attempt by the Government to pass the VAT Amendment Bill through Parliament was halted by a Supreme Court decision as the drafting of the proposed legislation had not followed due process. The decision came after court heard five petitions including that of Joint Opposition Parliamentarian and National Freedom Front leader Wimal Weerawansa.