Monks contest tax concession on beer; CA permits to file further documents

Tuesday, 8 November 2016 00:48 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By S. S. Selvanayagam

The Court of Appeal yesterday granted permission to the Petitioners to file further documents to further establish their case and fixed the matter to be taken up on 15 December with notice to the Respondents in respect of the Writ Petition challenging the impugned decision granting a waiver of any kind of fiscal levy.

The Bench comprised Justices Vijith K.Malalgoda (President/CA) and S.Thurairajah.

Buddhist Monks Agulugalle Sri Jinananda Thero, Rathgama Sumangala Thero, Biyagama Suseela Thero, Udagomadiya Sumana Thero, T. Mahanama Thero and Galgagodadeniya  Rathnawansha Thero filed the petition.

They cited Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Director General of Customs Dr. Nivelle Gunewardena, Treasury Secretary Dr. R. H. S. Samaratunge, Treasury Deputy Secretaries, Commissioner General of Excise, National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol, Lion Brewery (Ceylon) PLC and others as Respondents.

Sanjeeva Jayawardane PC appeared for the Petitioners. K. Kanag Iswaran PC appeared for the Lion Brewery.

Petitioners state that they are challenging the purported orders issued by the Finance Minister to grant customs import duty exemptions or concessions to beer, which is an alcoholic, noxious, inebriating substance.

The petitioners sought a writ of order, restraining the Finance Minister and other respondents from granting a full or part exemption or concession of customs import duty in respect of any alcoholic products imported by a beer brewery company.

The petitioners stated that according to the calculation, the Government would lose Rs. 371 per litre of beer with less than 5% alcohol and Rs. 254 per litre of beer with more than 5% alcohol imported by Lion Brewery Plc.

“If Lion imports around five million litres of beer per month for four months, the potential revenue loss for the Government would be Rs. 6 billion,” the petitioners said.