ECONOMYNEXT – A decision by Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of Ministers to reimpose a ban on women buying liquor is unconstitutional, Verité Research, a private sector think-tank, said.
Women are entitled to purchase liquor under Sri Lankan law as at 10 January 2018 after the Finance Minister amended an old, existing law, Excise Notification No. 666 of 31 December 1979, and removed a ban on the sale of liquor to women ‘within the premises of a tavern’.
Verité Research said in a statement that even Excise Notification No.666 does not appear to prohibit women from purchasing alcohol in premises that do not constitute a tavern such as supermarkets.
It also said women are guaranteed equality before the law with Article 12(1) of the Constitution saying that ‘all persons are equal before the law, and are entitled to the equal protection of the law’.
Moreover, article 12(2) states that ‘no citizen shall be discriminated against on the grounds of…sex.’
“Therefore, acts that discriminate against women on the grounds of their sex violate their fundamental rights, and are thereby unconstitutional,” Verité Research said.
It said the recent Cabinet decision to re-impose the ban under the old law was unconstitutional and also an imminent infringement of a fundamental right.
“The Cabinet’s decision discriminates against women on the grounds of their sex.”
(COLOMBO, January 19, 2018)