Revoking of alcohol Gazette: 11 women file FR in SC | Daily News

Revoking of alcohol Gazette: 11 women file FR in SC

Eleven female citizens including popular actress Samanalee Fonseka yesterday filed a Fundamental Rights petition in Supreme Court seeking a declare that Ministry of Finance or the State are not entitled in Law to revoke the Excise Notification dated January 10, 2018 in a manner which directly or indirectly prevents a female from lawfully being employed at a place of production and sale of liquor.

Petitioner Nishanthi Bandaranayake, M.D.J.B. Fernando, Samanalee Shanika Fonseka, M.D. Chandima Ravini Jinadasa, Deepanjalie Abeywardana, Attorney-at-law Sabrina Esufally, Sharanya Sekaram, Randhula de Silva, Meneka Galgamuwa, Sujatha Gamage and Visakha Tillekeratne had cited Minister of Finance & Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera, Ministry Secretary Dr. R. H. S Samaratunga and Attorney General as respondents.

The Petitioners state that by Excise Notification No.02/2018 dated 10th January 2018, the Minister of Finance has inter alia revised the Excise Notification No. 666 by inter alia repealing paragraphs 5(v) and 11(c) of the said Excise Notification No. 666.

The petitioners said Paragraph 11(c) indicates - “Persons to whom Liquor is not to be sold or given - No liquor shall be sold or given….. (c) to a woman within the premises of a tavern”…

The Petitioners state that this prohibition was a draconian measure that was arbitrary, irrational, unreasonable and discriminatory to female citizens of the Republic.

The Petitioners state they were reliably informed that at a media briefing, a member of the Cabinet of Ministers, Mahinda Samarasinghe has declared that at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers ostensibly held on January 16, 2016 the Cabinet of Ministers has purportedly decided to “revoke the recent Gazette allowing women to purchase alcohol” which the Petitioners verily believe refers to the said Excise Notification. The Petitioners state that the above circumstances gives rise to a reasonable apprehension regarding an imminent infringement of the Petitioners’ right to equality and equal protection of the law guaranteed to them by Article 12 (1) of the Constitution in as much as-

(a) Any revocation of the said Excise Notification would be unreasonable.

(b) Any such measure would deprive the members of the female gender who have attained the requisite age specified by Law from being lawfully employed at places of production and sale of liquor.

(c)Any such measure would deprive the members of the female gender who has attained the requisite age specified by Law from lawfully purchasing liquor which is a legal product that can only be manufactured, distributed and sold with the express regulation and control of the State.

(d) An imposition of a prohibition applicable to members of only one gender would tantamount to an unequal treatment of the members of such gender.

The Petitioners state that the above circumstances gives rise to a reasonable apprehension regarding an imminent infringement of the Petitioners’ right not to be discriminated against on the grounds of their sex guaranteed to them by Article 12(2) of the Constitution.

This petition had been filed through counsel Thisya Weragoda and Thamali Dinushi Perera.

 


 

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