The Lion Brewery Ceylon Ltd., et al. v. Hon. Attorney General, et al.

The leading manufacturers/producers of tobacco and alcohol products sued the Attorney General and others challenging the constitutionality of the “National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol” Bill.  The Bill advises the government on the implementation of the Tobacco and Alcohol Policy and recommends measures to minimize harm and eliminate the illicit trade arising from the consumption of tobacco and alcohol products. The Bill also creates new offences, particularly with regard to the sale of tobacco and alcohol products and the promotion of such sale by means of advertising and sponsorship of sports and cultural events.  The manufacturers argue that the production and sale of tobacco and alcohol, directly affected by the Bill, are lawful trades unlike the illicit trade in alcohol and drugs and that since the lawful trade is sought to be restricted in the manner set out in the Bill, it is discriminatory and denies them the freedom of expression and equal protection of the law as guaranteed by the Constitution. The Court found that specific provisions of the legislation were inconsistent with the Constitution but, taken as a whole, the legislation is valid.  The Court noted that it is the duty of the State to take such measures as envisaged in the Bill in the face of the proven risk to public health resulting from the use/consumption of tobacco and alcohol products.


The Lion Brewery Ceylon Ltd., et al. v. Hon. Attorney General, et al., S.C. (S.D) Nos. 13-22/05, Supreme Court of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (2006)

  • Sri Lanka
  • Jan 16, 2006
  • Supreme Court of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka



  • Cargills (Ceylon) Ltd., Colombo 01
  • Ceylon Tobacco Co. Ltd., Colombo 15
  • Ceylon Tobacco Co. Ltd., Distributors’Association, Colombo 02
  • Distilleries Co. of Sri Lanka Ltd., Colombo 10
  • I.D. Lanka Ltd., Kotalawela, Kaduwela
  • Kudagoda Bopearachchige Priyantha Saman Kumara, New Saman Hotel & Bakery, Malabe
  • Orient Lanka Ltd., Colombo 01
  • R.A.S. Wijesekera, Wilegoda, Kalutara North
  • The Lion Brewery Ceylon Ltd., Colombo 01


  • Hon. Attorney General
  • Ven. (Dr) Omalpe Sobhitha Thero

Third Party

  • Alcohol & Drug Information Centre, Colombo 05.
  • Green Movement of Sri Lanka Ltd, Colombo 10
  • I.O.G.T. Regional Council for South East Asia, Colombo 05
  • J.R.De Crusz, Dehiwela
  • Lawyers for Human Rights & Development, Colombo 08
  • Life Mathdravya Nivarana Vyaparaya, Kandy
  • Rev. Charles N. Jansz, President, Dutch Reformed Church in Sri Lanka
  • Rev. Kingsley Perera, Sri Lanka Baptist Sangamaya, Colombo 08
  • Rev. W.P. Ebenezer Joseph, President, Methodist Church of Sri Lanka,
  • Rt. Rev. Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo
  • Rt. Rev. Kumara Illangasinghe, Bishop of Kurunegala,
  • Sri Lanka Amadyapa Samitha Sammelanaya, Colombo 05
  • Sri Lanka Temperance Association, Colombo 11
  • Swarna Hansa Foundation, Battaramulla

Legislation Cited

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