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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Sri Lanka top court rules parts of budget bill unconstitutional

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has ruled that sections of an appropriation bill for 2013 which lays the basic outline for a budget for next year is unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court in a determination tabled in parliament said two sections relating to borrowings and re-allocating money allocated for another purpose is against section 148 of Sri Lanka’s constitution.
Section 148 of the constitution says the “Parliament shall have full control over public finance. No tax, rate or any other levy shall be imposed by any local authority or any other public authority, except by or under the authority of a law passed by Parliament or of any existing law.”

The Supreme Court has said both provision can be made to comply with the constitution by changing the sentences to read that parliamentary approval would be sought for the borrowings or before moneys are withdrawn from the original purpose.

The appropriation bill allocates money for different ministries and set borrowing limits for the year.

On November 08, by a so-called second reading, the finance minister sets out a budget policy speech and new taxes to bridge additional expenditure.

In Sri Lanka many taxes are changed each year to suit additional spending needs of the state and taxes are also imposed mid-year on citizens giving not even 12 months certainty to citizens to plan their lives.

The ruling was read out as the administration launched an impeachment process against Sri Lanka’s chief justice.

The Supreme Court also ruled against provisions of another bill which was seen to infringe on the powers of provincial councils, which is believed to have angered the administration.


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