SC dismisses Inter-Company Employees’ Union FR petition against DDO without hearing
The Supreme Court decided yesterday (9) to dismiss without hearing the Fundamental Rights petition filed by a group including the Inter-Company Employees Union,
requesting an order preventing the restructuring of the Government’s loans from the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) and the Employees’ Trust Fund (ETF) during the Domestic Debt Optimisation (DDO).
After considering the preliminary objections presented by Deputy Solicitor General Kanishka de Silva Balapatabendi, who appeared on behalf of the Attorney General and the Finance Ministry Secretary and the facts presented by the petitioners’ lawyer, the Bench decided to dismiss the petition.
This petition was called before a Supreme Court Bench consisting of Judges S. Thurairaja, Kumuduni Wickramasinghe and Mahinda Samayawardena.Deputy Solicitor General Kanishka de Silva Balapatabendi, who appeared for the respondents including the Attorney General, presented two preliminary objections regarding this petition. The first objection is the name of the first petitioner, the Inter Company Employees’ Union, has no legal personality to seek legal redress.
The name of the said Employee’s Union is registered in Sinhala and the said name has been translated into English language in the petition. The Deputy Solicitor argued that such a Union did not legally exist.
She also mentioned that such an institution has no capacity to file fundamental rights petitions or seek relief. She submitted that the petitioners had not submitted any documents to Court regarding the proposal submitted to Parliament in relation to the DDO that the petitioners are challenging.
She emphasized that according to the constitution of the country, Parliament has full responsibility for public finances and the restructuring of the domestic debt was under the purview of the Parliament. The Deputy Solicitor General raised her second preliminary objection that the Supreme Court had no power to intervene in this matter of public finances.
Taking those facts into consideration, she asked the Cout granting leave to proceed.
President’s Counsel Nigel Hatch, who appeared for the petitioners, stated that there are a large number of employees as members of the EPF and ETF. He submitted that the government had taken decisions regarding these funds without consulting them.
The President’s Counsel further stated that it was unfair and mentioned that the petitioners submitted this petition to court before submitting the relevant proposal to the Parliament and complained about the risk of violation of the fundamental rights of the petitioners. He further said that all the documents that the petitioners had were presented to Court.
He mentioned that several people who contribute to the EPF and ETF are among these petitioners and they will also be affected by the DDO. He requested the initial objections presented on behalf of the Attorney General were not acceptable and requested the Court to reject them.
After considering the facts, the judge refused to hear the petition.
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