Monday, 23 September 2019 05:57

Govt. criticised for Ruhunu Dev. Corporation Bill

The Sathya Gaweshakayo (Truth Seekers) organisation, which is affiliated with the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), yesterday said the Government had been attempting to bring legislation to allow foreign nationals to own lands in Sri Lanka and requested the public to remain vigilant of such activities.

Speaking to media at the public library, Founder Premanath Dolawatte charged the Government has made several attempts to introduce legislation to remove existing legal impediments in the sale of land to foreigners and foreign companies to develop state lands.

“The Ruhunu Economic Development Corporation of Sri Lanka Bill was another attempt to open doors for foreigners to acquire lands in Sri Lanka. However, we were able to prevent that following the Supreme Court ruling that proper procedure was not followed when placing the bill before parliament,” Dolawatte said.

According to Dolawatte, the Bill was an attempt by the Government to enable foreign companies to own lands and receive access to water resources that are vital for Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and the economic stability of the country. He noted the public should remain vigilant to prevent any attempt of the Government that undermines or changes existing legislation.

“If the Ruhunu Economic Development Corporation of Sri Lanka Bill passed in the Parliament that would have enabled the Government to bypass Article 148, which states all public finance will be under the total control of the Parliament. We do not think this will be the last attempt of the Government, therefore it is important for the public to be vigilant.” He argued the State Land (Special Provisions) Bill, which was withdrawn by the Government last month, was another attempt to create an opportunity for foreign nationals to buy lands. According to Dolawatte, the Government had used the Ruhunu Economic Development Bill to attain their goal as the latter Bill was opposed by several parties and finally withdrawn from Parliament.

Dolawatte assured that their organisation would not hesitate to take legal action to prevent any attempts by the Government to allow foreign nationals to own lands.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya informed the Parliament on 19 September that the Supreme Court has determined that proper procedure was not followed when placing the Ruhunu Economic Development Corporation of Sri Lanka Bill in the Order Paper of Parliament.

“In terms of Article 121 and Article 123 of the Constitution, that seeks the provisions of Clause 16 and Clause 17 of the Bill are in respect are matters set out in the Provincial Council list and the Bill has not been referred by the President to every Provincial Council for the expression of their views as mandatory as required by Article 154 (g) iii of the Constitution,” the Supreme Court said in its determination.

(FT)

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