Sri Lanka: Supreme Court suspends three environmental levies

Posted on December 1, 2008  /  2 Comments

Supreme Court today (Nov 01, 2008) ordered the suspension of three environmental levies imposed recently, reported Lanka Dissent.

Accordingly, the levies imposed on telecommunication towers, CFC bulbs of more than 40 Watts as well as the levy imposed on vehicles in the Western Province were directed to be suspended.

Should we open a bottle of Champaign? May be not. It was not LIRNEasia that took Environment Ministry to courts. Still we take pride in fighting against these irrational environmental levies which would have served nobody.

Some of our earlier blog posts:

Small Victory for LIRNEasia: Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court issues Interim Order against Tax on Mobile Phones and Telecom Towers (Sept 23, 2008)

Digital cigarettes (Sept 21, 2008)

Sri Lanka: Udaya Gammanpila says Environmental Levy does not burden public (Aug 19, 2008)

Sri Lanka: Road to ‘Dharma Rajya’ does not look ‘toll-free’ (Aug 14, 2008)

Sri Lanka: Taxing poor to clear the e-waste of rich (Aug 03, 2008)

Is mobile phone a polluter? (April 10, 2008)

“Green” tax to be imposed on mobiles? (Oct 30, 2007)

By the way, please note the 2% envy tax on mobile usage is still not off. So the battle is only half won.

If any reader wishes to offer their deepest condolences to Udaya Gammanpila, Chairman, Central Environmental Authority and Champika Ranawaka, Minister of Environment, about their failed attempts to irrationally burden a selected group of consumers to cover the recurring costs of Ministry of Environment, please feel free to use space below for the same. Guaranteed reading by both gentlemen. After all, LIRNEasia still comes within first ten Google hits for their names.


  1. I do not think condolences are in order. The most lucrative and illogical levy has been allowed to stand. Mobiles that reduce the need for environmentally harmful travel will be taxed proportionate to use. If mobiles are seen as causing harm to the environment and the costs of addressing that harm has to be recovered from the user, there should have been a fixed tax on mobiles and batteries.

    Mr Ranawaka stated his long term agenda during the budget debate. He wants to fully fund the activities of his Ministry using taxes that he himself levies. This is a violation of the Constitution and all principles of good governance. It was the job of the Supreme Court to strike down the unconstitutional law, not the stupid gazettes issued under it.

    Now the responsibility lies with Parliament to rescind the illegal Gazette.

  2. According to what Divaina and Lankadeepa reported, Environment Ministry has agreed in courts to do away with three tax components. If I remember correctly, they were the only ones challenged. Nobody challenged 2% tax on mobile usage. (correct me, if wrong)

    In fact, the tax on vehicles can easily be spared now, because all what govt has to do is to increase the cost of taking the emission certificate.