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Sri Lankan women to challenge alcohol ban in country’s top court



Colombo: Several Sri Lankan women have filed fundamental rights petitions in the Supreme Court against a Cabinet decision to revoke two gazette notifications which permit women to buy alcohol and work in outlets that sell or manufacture alcohol, the media reported on Thursday.

The women, including popular actress Samanalee Fonseka, have challenged the government`s decision calling it a “draconian measure that was arbitrary, irrational, unreasonable and discriminatory to the female citizens of the country”, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Cabinet this week unanimously decided to withdraw two gazette notifications which would enable women to buy alcohol and work in shops selling or manufacturing alcohol beverages and extending the business hours of liquor shops across the island.

The decision came after President Maithripala Sirisena said that he would call for a reversal of the two gazette notifications issued by the Finance Ministry.

The Finance Ministry last week lifted the ban on selling alcohol to women and on women working in places where alcohol is manufactured or sold, for the first time in nearly 60 years.

The Ministry later announced that it would also allow liquor shops to stay open for business till 11 p.m. Currently, all liquor establishments in the island have to close at 10 p.m.

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