In the matter of Article 122(1)(b) of the Constitution

The Sri Lankan President sought judicial review of the constitutionality of a bill that would amend the tobacco control law to specify that pictorial health warnings should cover 80% of each tobacco pack, as well as increasing the fine for non-compliance.  A tobacco company, Ceylon, intervened in the case.  The tobacco company argued that the threat of illicit trade outweighed the health risks, but the court disagreed and noted that dependence on tobacco is harmful whether legal or illegal. The tobacco company argued that 80% pack warnings were unreasonably large and violated intellectual property laws, but the court disagreed, noting that attending to public health is of high priority, "perhaps the one at the top."  The court also noted that the ability of tobacco companies to engage in lawful trade and use its trademarks would not be hindered by the amendments. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is positively cited throughout the decision.  The Court held that the amendments did not violate any constitutional provisions. 


S.C. (SD) No. 2/2015

  • Sri Lanka
  • Feb 6, 2015
  • Supreme Court


Plaintiff Attorney General (assisting Court in consideration of the Bill)


Third Party

  • Ceylon Tobacco PLC (intervenor)

Legislation Cited

International/Regional Instruments Cited

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product