Petition against Petroleum Bill: SC to send determination to Speaker | Daily News

Petition against Petroleum Bill: SC to send determination to Speaker

The Supreme Court yesterday concluded hearing the petition filed seeking a declaration that the Petroleum Products (Special provisions) (Amendment) Bill is inconsistent with the Constitution and declared that Court will inform the Speaker of its final determination on the Bill.

The direction was given by the Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices Murdu Fernando, Janak De Silva and Arjuna Obeyesekere when the petition was taken up before the Supreme Court.

The petition says that the Bill had been published in the Gazette on August 12 and placed on the Order Paper of Parliament on August 31.

The Petition says that this Bill aims to revive the Petroleum Products (Special Provisions) Act, No. 33 of 2002 which became inoperative following the expiry of the two year term of the Energy Supply Committee, established in terms of section 2 of the Energy Supply (Temporary Provisions) Act, No 2 of 2002.

The Petition says that with the subsequent enactment of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) Act and the resolution passed by Parliament on the April 5, 2006 making the Petroleum industry a regulated industry under the PUCSL Act, the licensing, regulatory, inspection and enforcement powers in connection with the Petroleum industry were vested by Parliament with the PUCSL.

The petition says that the proposed Bill is seeking to remove the powers, functions and duties of the PUCSL to licence, regulate and supervise the Petroleum Industry for the benefit of the petroleum industry and the consumers, and instead confer unbridled power and unfettered discretion on the Minister to issue a licenses to any person or body to import, export, sell, supply or distribute Petroleum, on the recommendation of a Committee appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Therefore, the petition seeks a declaration that the proposed bill is inconsistent with the Constitution.

The petition was filed by Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya, its joint Chairman Don Jagath Wijayagunaratne, Joint Secretary Aruna Nishantha and Treasurer Sampath Jayasekara through Attorney Manjula Balasooriya.

The Attorney General has been cited as the respondent in the petition.

The petition seek a determination that the provisions of clause 2, clause 3, clause 4 and clause 8 are inconsistent with and in contravention of the provisions of articles 1, 3, 4(d),12(1), 13(4), 14(1)(g), 14(1)(h) read with Articles 27(2)(a) to 27(2)(f), 27(7), 27(8), 27(14) and article 76 of the Constitution.

The petition also seeks a determination that the Bill cannot be enacted into law except if approved by the people at a Referendum in addition to a two-thirds vote of the Parliament.

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