The Court of Appeal has issued notices on respondents including the Minister of Finance returnable for February 7 in connection with a writ petition has filed seeking an order quashing the award of supply of security stickers to an Indian security printing company by the Excise department.
The Court of Appeal two-Judge-bench comprising Justice Sobhitha Rajakaruna and Justice Dhammika Ganepola made this order consequent to a writ petition filed by Lasantha Kumara a resident of Colombo 05. He is also seeking an order to restrain the Commissioner General of Excise department from purchasing any sticker whatsoever or making any payment to the Madras Security Printers, an Indian security printing company.
The petitioner is further seeking an order directing the Commissioner General of Excise department to implement a system to prevent local manufactures of liquor from evading or avoiding the due payment of taxes or levies to the State.
The petitioner has cited Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance S.R. Attygalle, Commissioner General of Excise Department M.J. Gunasiri, Madras Security Printers Company and Attorney General as respondents.
The Petitioner states that he expects to prevent a loss of revenue to a magnitude of several billions as a result of the illegal and unlawful decisions and practices of the Excise Department.
The petitioner further said Commissioner General of Excise department by his letter dated 19.01.2021 addressed to the Secretary to the Treasury has informed that the affixing of stickers on foreign liquor is successfully continuing with effect from 20.07.2019 and his department could not implement the affixing of stickers on locally manufactured liquor due to practical issues and COVID-19 pandemic though it was to be commenced on 20.08.2019.
The Petitioner states that the Excise Department is obliged to pay a sum of Rs. 32 million every month to Madras Security Printers.
The Petitioner states that according to the information he has received that the Commissioner General of Excise department has awarded the said contract without conducting a proper technical evaluation and also without following the tender procedures.
President’s Counsel Wijedasa Rajapaksa with Counsel Dasun Nagahahena, Rakhitha Rajapaksa, Madhawa Jayawardena and Jayamuditha Jayasooriya appeared for the petitioner. Senior State Counsel Suranga Wimalasena appeared for the Attorney General. Gamini Marapana PC appeared for Madras Security Printers. (Lakmal Sooriyagoda)