|Saturday, 01 March 2003|
by Kumar Wethasinghe
The appeal being made by Shell Gas against the order of the Fair Trading Commission to reduce the price of a domestic gas cylinder was yesterday referred to the President of the Court of Appeal as a matter of public interest.
Justice Gamini Amaratunge, Judge of the Court of Appeal ordered that the case be mentioned before the President of the Court of Appeal Justice Shirani Tilakawardene on March 4.
In this case the appellant Shell had been ordered by the FTC to reduce the price of a gas cylinder of 12.5kgs by Rs. 45 on January 8, this year.
On Thursday the court directed the Registrar to call from the FTC the complete record of the proceedings upon which an order was made.
The FTC having determined that the SGLL held a monopoly situation in LP gas market in Sri Lanka along with several other orders directed the SGLL shall pass on to the consumers the potential interest income accruable for a given year during the following year.
D. S. Wijesinghe, PC, Senior Counsel for SGLL earlier submitted that the instant application was a new category of appeals and since the FTC was a tribunal. He pleaded that the court should lay down the procedures. SGLL contended that the order of the FTC was contrary to and erroneous in law.
Romesh de Silva, PC on behalf of the Fair Trading Commission submitted that multinationals should not be allowed to exploit the interests of the people by unreasonable price hikes of LP gas cylinders. The Counsel submitted that the appellant had ignored the directives made by the FTC to reduce the price of a LP gas cylinder (12.5 kg) by Rs. 45. The public is eagerly awaiting for an early determination of this appeal, he said.
Justice Amaratunga in his order yesterday observed that the Fair Trading Commission had submitted the certified copies of the proceedings in relation to its directions made to the Shell Gas Lanka Ltd. which are relevant to this appeal.
The court is of the view that this appeal raises a matter of public interest and that the court is of the view that this should be heard and disposed expeditiously and to mention the same before the President of the Court of Appeal on March 4 to enable the Court to make an order for acceleration of this appeal, if the court is inclined and to give necessary instructions to prepare for the appeal.
D. S. Wijesinghe, PC with Chanaka de Silva instructed by Sudath Perera Associates appeared for the appellant Shell Gas Lanka Ltd.
Romesh de Silva, PC with Palitha Kumarasinghe and Sanjeewa Jayawardane instructed by G. G. Arulpragasam appeared for the respondent Fair Trading Commission.
Further hearing will resume on March 4.
Produced by Lake House