The petitioners are Nishanthi Bandaranayake, MDJB Fernando,Wanni Arachchige Samanalee Shanika Fonseka, M.D. Chandima Ravini Jinadasa, Deepanjalie Abeywardana,
Sabrina Esufally, Sharanya Sekaram, Randhula de Silva, Meneka Galgamuwa, Sujatha Gamage and Wadduwage Visakha Perera Tillekeratne.
The respondents cited are Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Finance & Mass Media, Dr. R. H. S Samaratunga, Secretary, Ministry of Finance & Mass Media and the Attorney General.
The Petitioners state that by Excise Notification No. 02/2018 dated 10th January 2018, the 1st Respondent 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 promulgation of a Excise Notification 02/2018 resulted in the revocation of an arbitrary, unreasonable and discriminatory prohibition imposed against female citizens of the Republic, they say.
The Petitioners state that when matters remained as such the Petitioners were reliably informed that at a media briefing, a member of the Cabinet of Ministers, Mr. Mahinda Samarasinghe has declared that at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers ostensibly held on 16th January 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.
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.
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.
An imposition of a prohibition applicable to members of only one gender would tantamount to an unequal treatment of the members of such gender, say the petitioners.
They request the Supreme Court to grant leave to proceed to this application, issue notice on the Respondents, declare that the Petitioners’ fundamental rights enshrined in Article 12(1) of the Constitution of the Republic is in danger of being imminently infringed, among others.
“This is a tragedy, can village women be allowed to drink?”
At a cabinet meeting before the re-imposition of the bank, president Maithripala Sirisena, ministers Rajitha Senaratne, Champika Ranawaka, Dayasiri Jaysekara strongly objected to the finance ministers’ move.
When journalists raised the matter at a media briefing at the media ministry yesterday (18), minister Senaratne said, ‘Women are not only those in Colombo.’
Click here for FR petition filed in the Supreme Court: