In Sri Lanka, supreme court rules that establishment of powerful economic commission must be put to referendum
By 19 May
Flag of Sri Lanka (photo credit: pixabay)
Sri Lanka's top court has ruled that some provisions of legislation to set up a powerful economic commission in a Chinese-built port city violate the constitution and require approval by a public referendum to become law. At the center of the dispute are fears that the $1.4 billion port city, part of China's sweeping Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, could become a virtual Chinese outpost or colony. [...] Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena read out the Supreme Court's ruling on the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill on Tuesday. The court said the bill could undermine the exclusive lawmaking powers of Parliament by empowering the proposed five-to-seven member commission, appointed by the president, to set and enforce rules within the port city.
That provision, and proposed heavy fines and long prison terms for those found breaching those rules, will require a two-thirds approval in the 225-seat Parliament and public approval through a referendum, the court said. [...] Opposition parties say they want the port city project to succeed but fear Sri Lanka would loose control of the territory.
Read the full article here: Times of India