Gazettes permitting women to buy alcohol withdrawn

Gazettes permitting women to buy alcohol withdrawn

January 18, 2018   12:03 pm


The Ministry of Finance has withdrawn the Gazette issued on lifting the ban on women buying alcohol or working in places that sell or manufacture liquor and also the Gazette extending the opening hours for bars and pubs.

“The Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mr. Mangala Samaraweera on the request of the Cabinet of Ministers today withdrew the two gazette notifications issued under the Excise Ordinance earlier which had lifted the ban on women buying liquor and working in places where liquor is manufactured or sold in addition to relaxing the business hours of liquor establishments.”

“Accordingly, the prohibition on selling liquor to women and employing women in places where liquor is manufactured or sold has been re-imposed under Excise Notification No 04 of 2018 signed by the Minister Mr. Mangala Samaraweera today(January 18),” a statement said. 

It said that the other gazette Extraordinary containing the Excise Notification No 03 of 2018 has re-introduced the previous business hours for liquor establishments.

The finance ministry on January 12 had announced lifting of the 1979 law that prohibited the sale of any type of alcohol to women in an effort to strike off retrograde laws from the statute books and reorganise them to meet the modern day needs. 

The move had revoked sharp criticism from nationalists and Buddhist monks who termed it an attack on the Sinhala majority Buddhist culture. 

Addressing a public rally last Saturday, President Maithripala Sirisena had said that he was against the move and wanted the gazette notifications to be cancelled. 

The President said he had only found out about the move from the newspapers.

Subsequently Sri Lanka’s cabinet on Tuesday unanimously decided to withdraw the two gazette notifications.

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

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


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