The Supreme Court has determined that several Clauses of the proposed Special Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill are inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution.
Accordingly, the Supreme Court has informed Parliament that the Special Goods and Services Tax Bill (GST) should be passed with a Two Thirds majority and a Referendum.
The determination of the Supreme Court was delivered by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena when Parliament convened yesterday.
Speaker Abeywardena noted that he received the determination of the Supreme Court pertaining to the GST Bill after it was challenged under the provisions of Article 121 of the Constitution.
The Speaker said several Clauses of the Bill are independently and jointly inconsistent with the Constitution.
“The Court has further stated that since it would be impracticable to suggest clause specific amendments to the Clauses of the Bill that have been found to be inconsistent with the Constitution as it would fundamentally alter the basic nature and structure of the Bill and become inconsistent with the declared objectives of the Bill, the Court while exercising the discretion conferred on it by the Constitution will refrain from determining the manner in which the afore-stated Clauses 2, 3, 4, 5 and 9(1) could be amended so as to alter such Clauses to become consistent with the Constitution.” The Speaker ordered that the Determination of the Supreme Court be printed in the Official Report of yesterday’s proceedings of the House.
The Special Goods and Services Tax Bill was presented in Parliament on January 20.
The Special GST Bill was presented to provide for the imposition of a special goods and services tax, in lieu of the sums chargeable on specified goods and services by way of tax, duty, levy, or any other charge imposed by law; to promote self-compliance in the payment of taxes in order to ensure greater efficiency in relation to the collection and administration or such taxes and related matters.