BASL files FR petitions with SC on economic crisis – The Island
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) yesterday filed two fundamental rights petitions in the Supreme Court regarding the current economic crisis in the public interest.
Nominations were submitted by BASL President, Saliya Pieris PC; Vice President, Anura Meddegoda PC; secretary, Rajeev Amarasuriya; Treasurer, Rajindh Perera; and Assistant Secretary, Pasindu Silva.
The BASL said in a press release: “The petitioners have asserted that their fundamental rights under Articles 11, 12(1), 13(4), 14(1)(g), 14(1)(h) and 14A of the Constitution are violated or are in imminent danger of violation by the actions and/or inaction of the State, including Defendants.The petitions named the Attorney General, the Cabinet of Ministers, the Governor of the Central Bank, the Treasury Secretary, the secretaries of several ministries, the Ceylon Electricity Board, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and the State Pharmaceutical Corporation as defendants.
“The petitioners have made the claim as the people of Sri Lanka upon whom sovereignty rests and as the people of Sri Lanka upon whom several fundamental duties are also imposed, under Article 28 of the Constitution for and on behalf of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, which is the supreme professional body in Sri Lanka for lawyers and is committed to upholding the rule of law, fundamental rights, the independence of the judiciary and justice in Sri Lanka Lanka, in the public interest.
“The petitions indicate that the country is currently experiencing long queues for the purchase of essential supplies, mass protests and public unrest due to acute shortages and the steep increase in the cost of goods and services, including food, fuel and travel expenses.
“The petitioners complain that Sri Lanka is currently facing an unprecedented economic and financial crisis resulting in severe shortages of fuel, electricity, gas, food, milk powder and medicine. The applicants complain that they are forced to take legal action because of the serious shortages of essential goods and services considered vital to the survival and existence of citizens of the Republic who are guaranteed the fundamental right to equality, equal protection of the law and the right to life under the Constitution.
“The Requesters state that in view of the growing unrest and public protests observed across the island, they are genuinely concerned that there is a substantial, real and serious threat of a breakdown in the state of law and order in the country. and a substantial threat to the rule of law, which should be addressed through timely and proportionate measures within the country’s legal framework.
“The petitioners seek orders from the Supreme Court:
“1. Direct the Cabinet of Ministers and/or any other respondent to immediately consult with all relevant stakeholders and independent experts to formulate and implement policies aimed at providing uninterrupted access and granting concessions with respect to the prices of goods and services essential to the population including LPG, fuel, electricity, powdered milk, medicine and food and to report to the Supreme Court on policies formulated on the foregoing;
“2. To obtain instructions for the Defendants to immediately formulate and implement short-term policies and measures to ensure that individuals also have adequate access to these essentials;
“3. Request instructions from Respondents 1” to 28’ who make up the Cabinet of Ministers and/or any other Respondent to immediately consult with all relevant stakeholders and independent experts, including the International Monetary Fund, to formulate and implement policies to provide uninterrupted access to essential materials and report these findings/recommendations and their implementation to the Supreme Court;
“4. Seek guidance to formulate medium and long-term policies to ensure that the population has uninterrupted access to essentials such as, among others, food, medicine, fuel, gas and electricity and formulate medium and long-term policies to grant concessions in relation to the prices of these essential goods and services;
“5. Instructions to the Cabinet of Ministers to formulate an urgent national policy to provide immediate relief to people and businesses affected by the current financial and economic crisis and to formulate and implement urgent policies to prioritize projects and programs, mitigate the currency crisis, ensure an uninterrupted supply of goods and services, control inflation and reduce the cost of living;
“6. Instructions to the Cabinet of Ministers to formulate and implement urgent policies to promote the production of local agriculture, dairy farming and animal husbandry to ensure food security;
“7. Instructions to Respondents in consultation with stakeholders, to formulate new systems, processes, rules and regulatory frameworks that ensure transparency and good governance practices with respect to the future management of public debt.
The Claimants will be represented by Dr. K. Kanag Isvaran PC, Uditha Egalahewa PC, Suren Gnanaraj and Pulasthi Hewamanne, led by GG Arulpragasam.