MEPs FR Victory for the Common People – “State shall not Exploit the People”
Posted on October 17th, 2015

State Shall not Exploit the People” MEP’s Complaint on the Telecommunication Levy Bill  A Victory for the Common People

The Good Governance regime, on 6th October, retracted its controversial, negligently and recklessly drafted Telecommunication Levy (Amendment) Bill which it had placed before Parliament on the Order paper of 22nd September 2015, with the objective of amending the Telecommunication Levy Act No.21 of 2011 and imposing additional levies on persons receiving telecommunication services. The Government was forced to retreat by a petition brought before the Supreme Court by Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) Vice President Somaweera Chandrasiri (former Member of Parliament and General Secretary of the Central Council of Ceylon Trade Unions).

The Bill sought to load further burdens on consumers, and to impose retrospective punishment, which is against natural justice. Mr Somaweera Chandrasiri filed a Special Determination Application No.22/2015 through the General Secretary of MEP Attorney at Law Thissa Yapa.

Arguing on the matter Senior Counsel Canishka Witharana made the following submission before a bench comprising of the Chief Justice K Sripavan, Justice Anil Gunarathne and Justice Sisira de Abrew on 5th October 2015:

That the bill is so negligently and recklessly drafted that it never gives any legitimacy for the levy which is presently being charged from the users. Therefore with the retrospective operation of the new law (Bill) the users will become subject to re-pay the taxes as a new levy on the usage from 1st April to the date the Bill becomes law”. Further the Bill is self-conflicting with regard to the liability to pay the levy when comes to recovery of levy on the usage of the pre-paid customers.

Just because a Government claims to have a majority in Parliament, it cannot place any irresponsibly drafted Bill to make Law. This is a speedily recoverable levy through the (electronic) system. Therefore more responsibility is placed on the legislature to be even more meticulous.”

The Directive Principles of the Constitution provides that the ‘State Shall not Exploit the People’. Article 27(7) states as follows;
The State shall eliminate economic and social privilege and disparity and the exploitation of man by man or by the State”.

The People exercise their Sovereignty at the election with the LEGITIMATE EXPECTATION that the Representatives shall do their duty by the people as elected representatives in the process of LEGISLATION, the another manner in which the Sovereignty is being exercised.”

This Bill attacks and violates the Sovereignty of the People (Articles 3 and 4) of the Constitution as thus: 1. Negligent and reckless legislation. 2. (Negligently or purposely) drafting a bill to DOUBLE Tax the people for a specific period (ie from 1.4.2015 to the date of certification). 3. Drafting a law to exploit the people (by the State). 4. Drafting a law in a manner to nullify or give no value to the charges levied during that period under the existing law (which is presently being charged).”

However the Senior Deputy Solicitor General, Janak De Silva, appearing for the Attorney General informed Court that he had received instructions in writing from the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance that the Government would withdraw the amendment bill and such intentions had already been communicated to the General Secretary of the Parliament.

This letter bears a date subsequent to the date of the institution of the said Application in the Supreme Court.

In the circumstances after hearing the Counsel for the Petitioner, the Court postponed the matter for 8th of October for the Submissions of the Attorney General.

However, answering to a question raised by Hon. Dinesh Gunewardena on 6th October in the Parliament, Hon. Laksmen Kiriella made announcement of the withdrawal of the Bill.

This decision was communicated to the Supreme Court by the Senior Deputy Solicitor General on the 8th of October and the Special Determination matter was withdrawn for the reason of the withdrawal of the Bill by the Government.

Mr. Somaweera Chandrasiri complained to the Supreme Court that the said Bill was inconsistent with the constitution and need approval at a referendum in addition to 2/3rd Majority of the Parliament in order to become law.

Once again MEP has championed the cause of protecting rights of the common masses, this time in avenues of advanced technology. It has, thereby, put the Government on the back-foot, for bad governance! (Desarasa)

4 Responses to “MEPs FR Victory for the Common People – “State shall not Exploit the People””

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    MEP has done very little in the recent past. People have forgotten it.

    Its time MEP played a BIGGER role in MORE IMPORTANT NATIONAL matters as well.

    OHCHR report is an area MEP should play a bigger role. MEP should also DEMAND that govt. SCRAPS 13 amendment.

  2. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    THANK YOU GENTLEMEN OF THE MEP. CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR SUCCESS, TO SAFEGUARD THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE OF SRILANKA. THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN TO ALL THOSE CONCERNED.

  3. ranjit Says:

    MEP leader is the best man for the post of Opposition leader. He is well respected from both sides and the public as well. I hope strong Opposition will rise up soon to counter the evil Jarapalanaya Govt of Sira/Wicky combination. We need to rise up against these traitors who are going to break our nation in to pieces with the collaboration with America and the Indian parasites. Sinhalaya wake up before Sinhalaya wiped out the Sinhalaya.

  4. Kumari Says:

    Well done MEP. Though the whole country knows who should be what, the Yahapalanaya will only allow their regime change goons to hold any post of responsibility.

    That is the way of Yahapalana democracy.,

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