The attorney general informed the Supreme Court yesterday (04) that domestic debt restructuring (DDR) is subject to parliamentary approval under the final stage of the IMF’s proposal, and that the court has no power to intervene.
Additional solicitor general Viraj Dayaratne presented preliminary objections to a fundamental rights petition against the decision to reduce the interest entitlement of nine percent when investing money from the EPF in treasury bills and bonds under DDR.
The petition was taken up by judges Vijith Malalgoda, Gamini Amarasekara and Yasantha Kodagoda.
Dayaratne, representing the attorney general, said that restructuring foreign debt is done according to the proposal of the IMF.
He said that it is a matter related to public finances and has been submitted to parliament for approval.
The authority relating to finance belongs to parliament and since DDR has been brought to the attention of parliament, court does not have the ability to intervene or give orders in this regard.
Therefore, he requested court to dismiss these petitions without hearing them. President’s Counsel Kanageeswaran, who appeared on behalf of the Central Bank’s Finance Board, stated that the decision regarding the reduction of the EPF’s interest to nine percent or the increase of the tax levied on Treasury Bonds to 30 percent will be made on 11 August.
He said that the petitions have not presented complete facts regarding this process and it is necessary to submit the facts through objections.
Therefore, he requested the court to grant permission to file objections against these petitions.
President’s Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran, who appeared before court on behalf of the petitioner, said the government will make a decisive pronouncement on the matter mentioned in the petition on 11 August.
Therefore, he requested an approximate date for considering this petition as an urgent matter, prior to that.
After considering the submissions, the bench allowed objections to be filed and ordered the objections be filed on 08 August.
Earlier, president Ranil Wickremesinghe has stressed the government’s financial accountability to Parliament, making it clear that they will only adhere to the instructions and orders of Parliament in the debt optimization programme. The president was speaking at the 29th annual meeting of the Coconut Growers Association.