Social activist alleges irregularities; AG says tender process not complete

Tuesday, 31 May 2016 00:16 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

FR petition on contract to build houses in N&E

By S.S.Selvanayagam

The Attorney General yesterday (30) informed the Supreme Court that five committees have been appointed in respect of the tender for constructing 65,000 houses for conflict affected families in the north and the tender process is not complete.

The Chief Justice posed a question that as the tender process is incomplete and no decision is taken, what should be quashed as prayed for by the Petitioner.

Court directed the petitioner to send notices to all Respondents except the Attorney General with the date of support.

The Court fixed the matter for support on 31 August.

The Bench comprised Chief Justice K. Sripavan and Justice K.T. Chitrasiri.

A social activist filed fundamental rights petition complaining of alleged irregularities and inconsistencies in the contract to build 65,000 houses with an international company.

Petitioner Mohamed Fazl laments that the Chairman of the Cabinet Appointed Negotiation Committee (CANC) for the constructing 65,000 houses for conflict affected families in Northern and Eastern Provinces D.M. Swaminathan, the Minister of Prisons Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Affairs has awarded a contract bypassing procedures and the law.

He cited the Minister, Prime Minister, Members of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Attorney General and Luxembourg based International Company ArcelorMittal and others as Respondents.

Upul Jayasuriya appeared for Minister D.M. Swaminathan. Sanjeewa Jayawardane PC with Suren de Silva and Jeevan Gunatilake appeared for ArcelorMittal and its CEO Lakshmi Mittal. Additional Solicitor General Sanjeev Rajaratnam appeared for the AG.

Petitioner states the refusal and/or denial of the beneficiaries by the Minister or by the other Respondents to disclose information about the plans to accommodate in such houses upon considering their views and consulting experts on suitability of housing intended in the given socio eco economic cultural and environmental context violates the right to freedom of expression.

He is seeking an Interim Relief from the Court to direct the Minister to desist from entering into any contract relating to these constructions.

He is seeking the Court to quash the decision by the Minister to grant the contract to the said international company.