FR challenging vehicle imports for MPs | Daily News

FR challenging vehicle imports for MPs

Former Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Province Councillor Mahinda Jayasinghe yesterday filed a Fundamental Rights petition in the Supreme Court seeking a declaration that importation of luxury vehicles for Members of Parliament is illegal.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Finance Ministry Secretary S.R.Attygalle, members of the Cabinet of Ministers and Attorney General were named as respondents in the petition.

Petitioner Jayasinghe stated that the Prime Minister had submitted  a special Cabinet Memorandum on or around May 18, 2021 seeking Cabinet approval to import 50 ambulances, 50 water bowsers, 50 double cabs and jeeps for Members of Parliament. The petitioner said the concerned Cabinet Memorandum had sought the approval to obtain leasing facilities from the Bank of Ceylon and to open Letters of Credit to import the said vehicles.

The petition said that on May 24, 2021 the Prime Minister had announced that the Cabinet of Ministers decided to suspend the decision to import vehicles following a public outcry.

He states that public was unaware of the fact that the Letters of Credit have been issued in April 2021 even without obtaining the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers. The petitioner said he verily believed that the Letters of Credit have been issued much prior to seeking Cabinet approval with the ulterior motive of making it even impossible for the Cabinet of Ministers to practically and effectively revisit and reverse the process initiated for such imports.

The petitioner stated that said vehicles are to be imported without charging relevant taxes and duties. The petitioner alleged that the Cabinet of Ministers had taken a decision to import these vehicles during a situation where country is facing severe deficit of foreign currency reserves and struggling to control COVID-19 amidst a lack of health facilities.

Jayasinghe is seeking a declaration that the respondents have violated his Fundamental Rights guaranteed under Article 12(1) of the Constitution.

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