Tamil Alliance MP says Sri Lanka’s legislation on expropriation is ad hominem

Nov 12, Colombo: Legislator of Sri Lanka’s major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and Attorney M.A. Sumanthiran says that the government’s legislation on expropriation is ad hominem.

Sumanthiran told ColomboPage that in legal terms a particular scenario applied to a one-off situation is considered ad hominem and is not considered law and the expropriation bill in this instance is such a piece of legislation.

He said that legislation is considered law only when it applies to all.

He explained that the bill should have set a criteria to determine the underperforming and underutilized assets by a body after close scrutiny.

“Instead the law itself has now identified the underperforming and underutilized assets without proper scrutiny,” he said.

Sumanthiran observed that the definition used in identifying the underutilized and underperforming assets is vague and a few entities have been selected through an unknown process.

He noted that since parliament has decided on the entities to be acquired, the victimized would not be able to go before courts for legal redress.

Speaking during the debate on the bill on the 9th in the House, Sumanthiran said, “This bill is ad hominem legislation because it seeks to deal with just one matter and pronounces that it is an enterprise that is underperforming.”

He has added that the parliament is being asked to decide on the identified companies and pronounce them underperforming enterprises or underutilized assets, without placing before parliament either the balance sheets or accounts of these companies.

“Even if that were available it is not the task of this House to go into a matter like it and pronounce upon each of these matters,” he has said.

“I like to ask this question about underperforming enterprises. What about this parliament? By a good test the parliament today can be described as an underperforming enterprise. It has lost all its powers merely because the government has obtained by dubious means a two-thirds majority. This house has been reduced to a mere rubber stamp,” Sumanthiran has said.

The parliament passed the “Revival of Underperforming and Underutilized Assets” bill on Wednesday (09) with a majority of 76 votes allowing the government to take over some 37 businesses that according to the government have not performed up to the peoples’ expectations.

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