Sri Lanka cabinet agrees to annul the gazette that allowed women to buy liquor

Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of Ministers at its weekly meeting on Tuesday has agreed to cancel the gazette notification issued by the Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera allowing the women to purchase alcohol and work in liquor shops and extending the business hours of establishments that serve or sell liquor.

Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said the cabinet has unanimously consented to cancel the gazette notification issued by the Minister of Finance last week.

Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera announced that he amended the schedule in the Excise Notification no.666 of the Gazette Extraordinary of 1979 to allow females over 18 years to purchase alcohol legally and to allow women to be employed in licensed premises without prior approval from Excise Commissioner. He also extended the business hours of all licensed liquor shops in Sri Lanka.

President Maithripala Sirisena has publicly objected to revising the law and instructed the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister to cancel the Gazette notifications regarding liquor sales to women and the opening hours of licensed liquor outlets.

Local media reported that there was intensely debated on the issue in yesterday’s cabinet meeting and Ministers Rajitha Senaratne and Patali Champika Ranawaka vehemently opposed Minister Samaraweera relaxing the laws regarding alcohol sales to women.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera has said that the ban imposed on women to work in liquor shops and to buy liquor was removed because it was not justified that a separate law had been imposed on women.

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