Lanka’s SC moved against legislation on China-backed Colombo Port City

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Sri Lanka’s Opposition events, civil society teams and labour unions have filed a number of petitions within the Supreme Court against a proposed controversial legislation on the China-backed USD 1.4 billion Port City in Colombo, alleging that it violated the nation’s sovereignty, the Constitution and labour rights.

The invoice titled the Colombo Port City Economic Commission was gazetted on March 23 and the ruling Rajapaksa administration tabled it in Parliament final week. The invoice goals to supply for a particular financial zone to determine a fee to grant registrations, licenses, authorisations and different approvals to function enterprise in such financial zones.

Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya has appointed a 5-member bench of the best courtroom to listen to petitions subsequent week, officers stated.

The port metropolis, a pet Chinese mission of the administration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and touted by the federal government as an funding hub for overseas capital, commenced in 2014 to construct a monetary centre on reclaimed sea land in extent little lower than 3 kilometres at Galle Face seafront within the coronary heart of Colombo.

The mission was suspended in 2015 with Rajapaksa’s defeat and was revived by the successor Maithripala Sirisena’s authorities after a pause. It was accomplished in 2018.

However, Sri Lanka’s Opposition events, together with the United National Party (UNP), the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), civil society organisations, commerce unions, on Thursday challenged the constitutional validity of the proposed legislation for the Port City.

The petitioners against the invoice claimed that quite a few provisions within the invoice violates the Constitution and violates labour rights.

In their petitions, the petitioners requested the Supreme Court to rule that the invoice have to be handed by a two-thirds majority in Parliament and by a referendum whether it is to turn into legislation.

The petitions stated that the Port City Commission to be established might be empowered underneath the Act to the detriment of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka.

The Colombo Port City mission, anticipated to play a key function in China’s bold ‘Maritime Silk Road’ mission in India’s yard, is alleged to be the one largest personal sector improvement ever within the island.

Sri Lanka, in recent times carried out numerous improvement initiatives with an estimated USD eight billion loans.

The big Chinese loans sparked issues globally after Sri Lanka handed over the Hambantota port to China in 2017 as debt swap amounting to USD 1.2 billion for a 99 years’ lease.

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