CUSTOMS UNIONS ARE RESISTING THE REPEAL OF AN ARCANE LAW THAT GRANTS THEM ENORMOUS POWER WITH LITTLE ACCOUNTABILITY. WHEN A CUSTOMS OFFICER HAS PERSONAL FINANCIAL GAIN FROM A JUDGMENT, EXPECTING JUSTICE IS UNREALISTIC. THE NEW LAW PROPOSES TO WITHDRAW CUSTOMS‘ POWER TO PENALISE OFFENDERS PROPOSING ITS REPLACEMENT BY A THREE - MEMBER CUSTOMS APPELLATE TRIBUNAL APPOINTED BY THE JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION.
ustoms Ordinance, the law governing Customs, enacted in 1869, is nearly a century and a half old. It’s one of the oldest laws in the Sri Lankan statute books and one of the oldest customs ordinances in the world. Drafted in a classical English style with difficult to comprehend long-winded sentences, it was meant for an era when trade was slow moving. In the century since, developments include containerised cargo, transshipment, global supply chains, computerisation and ecommerce, resulting in faster transactions at a lower cost.