The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) yesterday raised its concerns over the limited time given for scrutiny and discussion of the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill by the Government.
Issuing a press release, the Executive Committee which was appointed by the BASL to study the provisions of the Bill to make recommendations have been extremely concerned about the timing of placing the Bill on the Order Paper of Parliament, which was after the suspension of sittings of the Supreme Court, a time when many members of the legal profession are unavailable.
However, as the Bill was placed on the Order Paper of Parliament, the Executive Committee called on the Committee appointed to carry out its work on an urgent basis and the particular Committee presented an Interim Report which focused mainly on the constitutionality of the Bill.
As per the key findings in the Interim Report, the Committee had mentioned that the subject matter of the Bill is of national importance and has the potential to generate significant economic benefits to the country.
However, there is a lack of consultative process, transparency and sufficient time granted to stakeholders to examine the Bill.
Further, the Committee had stated that the information in relation to the project company, any agreements entered into between the Government and the project company, and information with regard to the administrative structure of the landmass (Grama Niladhari divisions, Municipal wards etc) have not been disclosed or not available for the public on the Bill.
Accordingly, the BASL special committee noted that certain provisions of the Bill may be inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution such as Articles 1, 2,3,4,12,14 and 76.
The Executive Committee including former BASL President Ikram Mohamed PC as the Chairman, comprising Uditha Egalahewa PC, Chandaka Jayasundera PC, Eraj de Silva, Manjuka Fernandopulle, Dhanya Gunewardena, Shivan Cooray and Yoshani Demuni were appointed as members of the Committee to study the Bill.