Catholic and Buddhist religious leaders in Sri Lanka filed a petition before the country’s Supreme Court this week to oppose the transfer of shares of a power plant to an American company.
In their “fundamental rights petition,” Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo and Venerable Elle Gunawansa Thero questioned the sale of shares of the Yugadanavi Power Plant to the American Company New Fortress Energy, Inc.
The religious leaders also asked the Supreme Court to prevent the American company from being awarded the contract to supply Liquefied natural Gas (LNG) to the power plant.
On September 21, the government of Sri Lanka signed a “Definitive Agreement” with New Fortress Energy Inc., approving the sale of 40 percent of the shares of West Coast Power (Private) Limited to the US company.
The petitioners said signing the agreement is contrary to law, “arbitrary and an infringement of Fundamental Rights guaranteed under Article 12(1) of the Constitution.”
The petitioners alleged that the acceptance of the proposal to purchase the shares is contrary to the country’s National Energy Policy and Strategies of 2019.
Thero said the government failed to consider the people in deciding on the agreement.
The Buddhist leader said that by entering into a deal without consulting those who will be most affected “is a violation of the fundamental rights of the people of the country.”
The petition seeks to prevent the enforcement of the agreement entered into by the country’s officials until the court decides on the “fundamental rights petition.”
The petition names 54 individuals, including the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, his Cabinet, the Secretary to the Cabinet, the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, the Attorney General and New Fortress Energy as respondents.