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Sri Lanka clears court hurdle for expropriation law
08 Nov, 2011 14:45:22
Nov 08, 2011 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's Supreme Court has said a draft law to expropriate assets of some three dozen private enterprises is consistent with the island's constitution in a determination read out by the deputy speaker in the island's parliament.
The controversial bill was referred to the Supreme Court by Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week for a determination in 48 hours about its conformity with the constitution as an urgent bill.

Critics have warned that expropriation violates property rights of citizens and it will hurt investment in the future due to fear of expropriation.

Sri Lanka's opposition parties, including Marxists have called for its withdrawal. Senior Buddhist monks have asked the bill to be stopped.

The law was secretly written and presented to court with only the state prosecutor present. Section 157 of Sri Lanka's constitution gives a specific guarantee against expropriation especially of foreign assets.

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READER COMMENT(S)
4. fb Nov 08
@citizen. There are many problems with this constitution. This is just one. Section 122. Can demand between 24 also.

Special exercise of constitutional jurisdiction in respect of urgent Bills.

122. (1) In the case of a Bill which is, in the view of the Cabinet of Ministers, urgent in the national interest, and bears an endorsement to that effect under the hand of the Secretary to the Cabinet –

(a) the provisions of Article 78 (1) and of Article 121, shall subject to the provisions of paragraph (2) of this Article, have no application;

(b) the President shall by a written reference addressed to the Chief Justice, require the special determination of the Supreme Court as to whether the Bill or any provision thereof is inconsistent with the Constitution. A copy of such reference shall at the same time be delivered to the Speaker;

(c) the Supreme Court shall make its determination within twenty-four hours (or such longer period not exceeding three days as the President may specify) of the assembling of the Court, and shall communicate its determination only to the President and the Speaker.

3. Citizen Nov 08
If the judiciary is independent of the executive how come the suprime court is demanded to deliver the determination in 48 hours?
2. Miracle Of Asia Nov 08
Government has many under-performing assets themselves. Most are also known for corruption.

e.g. Railway , CTB , Electricity, Petrolatum Corp. So, I am sure only few corrupted officials gets the benefit of this 'expropriation' ; and general public as always gets the dirt !

1. anon Nov 08
Article 157 for your readers reference is given below. Is there any such article which looks after our (local's) interest from the powers that be?

http://www.priu.gov.lk/Cons/1978Constitution/Chapter_20_Amd.html

"157. Where Parliament by resolution passed by not less than two-thirds of the whole number of Members of Parliament (including those not present) voting in its favour, approves as being essential for the development of the national economy, any Treaty or Agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Government of any foreign State for the promotion and protection of the investments in Sri Lanka of such foreign State, its nationals, or of corporations, companies and other associations incorporated or constituted under its laws, such Treaty or Agreement shall have the force of law in Sri Lanka and otherwise than in the interests of national security no written law shall be enacted or made, and no executive or administrative action shall be taken, in contravention of the provisions of such Treaty or Agreement."