SC concludes hearings on new Electricity Bill; determination to be submitted to Speaker

Tuesday, 14 May 2024 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Supreme Court concluded its hearings on petitions challenging the proposed Sri Lanka Electricity Bill yesterday. 

Multiple parties had filed these petitions, arguing that certain provisions of the Bill violate the Sri Lankan Constitution.

The Court said that it would communicate its determination on the matter confidentially to the Speaker of Parliament.

The petitions were heard by a three-member bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justices Vijith Malalgoda, Shiran Gunaratne, and Arjuna Obeysekere over three consecutive days. The Attorney General and several others were named as respondents in these petitions.

Various persons and organisations, including Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Citizen Power Against Bribery, Corruption and Waste Chairperson Jamuni Kamantha Thushara, Dr. Tilak Siyambalapitiya, Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union, Ceylon Electricity Workers Union convener Ranjan Jayalal, and Frontline Socialist Party (FLSP) member Duminda Nagamuwa, filed a total of 12 petitions.

During the hearings, Shantha Jayawardena PC, representing the CEB Engineers Union, highlighted concerns regarding the direct powers granted to the Minister of Power and Energy under the proposed legislation. Uditha Igalahewa PC cautioned that the Bill could potentially enable companies to make unlimited profits at the expense of consumer protection.

Other legal counsels argued that the proposed law undermines citizen sovereignty and may infringe upon constitutional rights. The petitioners have requested the Supreme Court to rule that passing the law requires a two-thirds majority vote in Parliament and a referendum, as they believe many clauses in the Electricity Bill violate the country’s Constitution.