Friday, July 14, 2006


The JHU wishers to thank everybody who contributed to the successful enactment of the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol Act which was passed unanimously in Parliament yesterday (05.07.2006). The Bill was originally presented as a private members bill by JHU’s General Secretary Ven.Dr. Omalpe Sobitha Thero M.P. which was challenged in the Supreme Court by 16 petitions. The Supreme Court upheld that this bill was in accordance with the Constitution and that it did not requir to be passed at a national Referendum.
Subsequently the Government presented another Bill through Health Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva and requested the JHU to withdraw it’s Bill. In considering the difficult path which needed to be taken as a private members Bill JHU agreed in principal that if it’s Bill was presented without any dilutions in the Government Bill the JHU would withdraw as requested. However after the Government Bill was presented there was a major deviation as to the definition of the percentage of Alcohol as the Government Bill wanted it increased to 4.5% as against 1%. After deliberations in the Supreme Court it was finally agreed to accept the JHU’s argument.
Many local & multinational companies spend millions of rupees to either throw this Bill to the dustbin or to dilute the contents of the Bill. Top legal experts were hired to challenge this Bill. This is a major victory for the people who voted the JHU and in general to all peace loving people of mother Lanka as this could be considered as the most important Act passed in the recent past. Many voluntary organizations including Catholic, Christian, Anglican, Methodist Churches ,the Sri Lanka Temperance Council, ADIC, Sri Lanka Medical Council, many Women’s Organizations, Lawyers & Human Rights Organizations, Swarna Hansa Foundation and Dharmavijaya Foundation extended their fullest support on this Bill.
It was reveled by Ven. Sobitha Thero that in the year 2004 the total liquor production was 86,800 Million Liters!!! And there are 4,300 liquor bars in the Country. There are around 14,000 places of shops & restaurants who sell liquor and only 10,000 temples in the country!!!
Minister De Silva thanked the JHU for introducing this Bill and many other MP’s appreciated the work done by the JHU in this regard. UNP’s Dr. Rajitha Senaratne commenting on this Bill told that this is the first meritorious act the JHU committed after entering politics. UNP MP P. Dayaratne also thanked the Government and the JHU monks for not bending to the pressure inserted by various interested parties who opposed these regulation. The TNA, JVP also expressed satisfaction with regard to this Bill.
Let’s appreciate the good work done by the JHU and hope that the menace of Tobacco and Alcohol would be minimize and our younger generation could be guided and protected.

Narendra Gunatillake
Secretary – International Affairs JHU

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