Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka act

Arrangement of Sections

PART I

PRELIMINARY

1. Short title.

PART II

PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OR SRI LANKA

2. Establishment of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka.

3. Members of the Commission.

4. Duties of the Constitutional Council under this Act.

5. Qualifications of members of the Commission.

6. Resignation, removal and term of office, of members of the Commission.

7. Procedure for removal of member from office.

8. Chairman of the Commission.

9. Meetings of the Commissioner.

10. Seal of the Commission.

PART III

APPOINTMENT OF DIRECTOR-GENERAL DEPUTY DIRECTORS-GENERAL AND OTHERS STAFF

11. Director-General and Deputy Director-General of the Commission

12. Staff of the Commission.

13. Official secrecy.

PART IV

OBJECTIVES, POWERS AND FUNCTIONS

14. Objectives of the Commission.

15. Powers of the Commission to require information.

16. General powers of the Commission.

17. Functions of the Commission.

18. Public hearing

19. Finality of order made under section 18 subject in appeal on a question of law.

20. Evidence of documents.

21. Contravention of an order, award or direction.

PART V

COMPETITION

22. Commission's competition functions.

23. Criteria for Commission's competition function.

24. Commission's competition enforcement powers.

25. Powers of entry inspection and search.

26. Principles to be applied.

27. Offences and penalties.

PART VI

CONSUMER PROTECTION

28. Consumer protection.

29. Consumer Consultative Committee.

PART VII

POLICY GUIDELINES

30. Minister to issue general policy guidelines.

PART VIII

FINANCE

31. Fund of the Commission.

32. Power to borrow.

33. Provision relating to expenditure.

34. Accounts and audit.

PART IX

GENERAL

35. Co-operation between Commission and other bodies.

36. Protection of action.

37. Annual report.

38. Power of Commission to make rules.

39. Provision for conflict with other written laws.

40. Adjustment of Commission to make rules.

41. Members and Staff of the Commission deemed to be public servants.

42. Commission deemed to be a schedules institution for the purpose of the Bribery Act.

43. Sinhala text to prevail in case of inconsistency.

44. Interpretation.

SCHEDULE

35 of 2002.

AN ACT to provide for the establishment of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka to regulate certain utilities industries pursuant to a Coherent National Policy: and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

[Date of Commencement: 20th December, 2002]

PART I

PRELIMINARY

1. Short title.

(1) This Act may be cited as the public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka Act.

(2) This Act shall apply to the public utilities industries set out in the Schedule to this Act, the regulation of which is vested in or assigned to the public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka.

(3) Parliament may by resolution amend the Schedule to the Act by adding thereto any utilities industry or removing therefrom any public utilities industry, where such addition or removal is considered necessary or expedient in the public interest.

PART II

PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OR SRI LANKA

2. Establishment of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka.

(1) There shall be established a commission, which shall be called the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (hereinafter referred to as the "Commission”).

(2) The Commission shall, by the name assigned to it by subsection (1), be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal, and may sue and be sued in such name.

3. Members of the Commission.

(1) Subject to the provisions of section 5, the Commission shall consist of five members appointed by the Minister with the concurrence of the Constitutional Council, of whom—

(a) at least one member shall be a person who is qualified, and has experience, in the field of engineering;

(b) at least one other member shall be a person who is qualified, and has experience in the field of law; and

(c) at least one other member shall be a person who is qualified, and has experience in the field of business management.

(2) The first members of the Commission shall be appointed within four months of the coming into operation of this part and any subsequent vacancy in the commission shall be filled within three months of the occurrence of the vacancy.

4. Duties of the Constitutional Council under this Act.

(1) The Constitutional Council shall, before giving its concurrence to the appointment of any person as a member of the Commission under this Act, satisfy itself that such person is qualified for appointment under subsection (1) of section 5 and is not disqualified for appointment under subsection (2) of section 5.

(2) Decisions of the Constitutional Council to give its concurrence for appointment of persons as members of the Commission shall be by majority vote.

(3) The Constitutional council may require any person being considered for appointment as a member under section 3 to furnish it with such information as it may require for the purpose of discharging its functions under subsection (1).

(4) The Minister shall, within one month from the date of occurrence of a vacancy in the Commission transmit to the Constitutional Council for its concurrence, names of persons in the order of preference to be appointed as Commissioner. The Constitutional Council, where it concurs as regards the persons to be appointed as members of the Commission, shall express its concurrence to the Minister at least one month prior to the date before which the Minister is required to make such appointments.

5. Qualifications of members of the Commission.

(1) The members of the Commission shall be persons with ability and integrity and have shown capacity in addressing problems relating to engineering, law, economics, business management, accordingly or administration.

(2) A Person shall be disqualified from being appointed, or continuing as a member of the Commission it—

(a) he or she is not a citizen of Sri Lanka; or

(b) he or she has been convicted of a criminal offence; or

(c) he or she is, or has been an undischarged bankrupt or has made any arrangement with his or her creditors; or

(d) he or she is, or has been within three years prior to his or her nomination for appointment, a member of Parliament; or

(e) he or she is a member of a Provincial Council or any local authority; or

(f) he or she holds any post in any political party recognised for the purposes of Parliamentary elections: or

(g) he or she or a connected person, has any financial or other interest amounting to a conflict of interest, directly or indirectly, in any company or undertaking which carries on any public utilities industry.

6. Resignation, removal and term of office, of members of the Commission.

(1) A member of the Commission may resign from office by letter in that behalf addressed to the Minister, and such resignation shall take effect from the date on which the resignation shall take effect from the date on which the resignation is accepted in writing by the Minister.

(2) The Minister may remove a member of the Commission from office after an address of Parliament supported by a majority of the total number of members of Parliament (including those not present) has been presented to the Minister for such removal, after compliance with the procedure set out in section 7.

(3) The term of office of a member of the Commission shall be five years from the date of appointment;

Provided however, that the first members of the Commission, other than the member who is appointed as the Chairman, shall hold office for periods of four, three, two years and one year respectively, as the Minister shall determine.

(4) Where a member of the Commission vacates office by death, resignation or other cause, the Minister shall with the concurrence of the Constitutional council, appoint, having regard to the provisions of sections 5 and 7, another suitable person in his or her place, and the person so appointed shall hold office for the remainder of the terms of office of the member whom be or she succeeds.

(5) A member of the Commission whose term of office is due to end otherwise than by removal shall be eligible for reappointment for not more than one further term of office (whether consecutive or otherwise).

(6) Members of the Commission shall be paid such remuneration as may be determined by a resolution of Parliament and such remuneration shall be charged to the fund of the Commission. Members of the Commission shall exercise, perform and discharge the powers, duties, and functions of the commission on a part-time basis in accordance with the terms and conditions of their respective letters of appointment.

(7) A person shall not for a period of three years after he or she ceases to be a member of the Commission, acquire, hold or maintain, directly or indirectly, any office, employment, consultancy arrangement or business in Sri Lanka where he or she may be liable to use or disclose information acquired by him or her in the exercise performance and discharge of the powers, duties and functions of the Commission, and if he or she acquires any such interests involuntarily or by way of succession or testamentary disposition, he or she shall divest himself or herself of such interest, within two months of the acquisition of such interest.

7. Procedure for removal of member from office.

The Minister shall not remove a member of the Commission from office unless—

(a) the Minister has sent a notice to the member that it is proposed to remove such member from office on any one or more of the following grounds, namely, that he or she—

(i) is an undischarged bankrupt or has made any arrangement with his or her creditors; or

(ii) is found or declared to be of unsound mind under any law in force in Sri Lanka; or

(iii) has ceased to be qualified to continue as a member, or is disqualified from continuing as a member; or

(iv) has refused or failed to discharge his or her functions for a period of three months or more; or

(v) is guilty of misbehavior accompanied by full particulars relating to the proposed grounds for removal, and has afforded the member an opportunity of making representations against the proposed removal;

(b) the Minister, having considered any representations made by the member, has reported to Parliament, that the proposed removal of the member, on the grounds specified in the notice sent to the member is justified and has forwarded together with the report, the representations made by the member to Parliament;

(c) Parliament, having considered the report of the Minister and the representations made by the member, has passed an address, supported by a majority of the total number of members of Parliament (including those not present); for such removal.

8. Chairman of the Commission.

(1) The Minister shall appoint one of the members of the Commission to be the Chairman of the Commission (hereinafter referred to as "The Chairman”).

(2) The Chairman may resign from the office of Chairman by letter in that behalf addressed to the Minister and the resignation shall take effect from the date on which it is accepted, in writing, by the Minister.

(3) The Chairman shall cease to be the Chairman if he or she is removed from the office of member of the Commission under section 6.

(4) The term of office of the Chairman shall be five years.

(5) The Chairman shall not, on vacation of the office of Chairman, be eligible for reappointment as chairman.

(6) Without prejudice to the provisions of section 7, the Chairman shall, within one month of his or her appointment, nominate a member in writing, to be the Deputy Chairman to discharge the functions of the Chairman during his absence from office due to illness or any other cause.

9. Meetings of the Commissioner.

(1) The Chairman shall summon all meetings of the Commission. Any member of the Commission may, by written notice, request the Chairman to call a meeting of the commission and the Chairman shall not otherwise than for good reason, refuse to do so.

(2) The Commission may decide any matter, which is determined by the Chairman to be urgent with the agreement of the majority of the members.

(3) The Chairman shall preside at all meetings of the Commission and in the absence of the Chairman at any meeting, the Deputy Chairman shall preside at such meeting.

(4) The quorum for a meeting of the Commission shall be three members including the Chairman. In the absence of the Chairman, the quorum shall be three members including the Deputy Chairman.

(5) all matters for decision by the Commission shall be decided by a majority of the votes of the members of the Commission. The decision supported by the votes of a majority of the members of the Commission on any matter shall be deemed to be the decision of the Commission on that matter.

(6) All decisions of the Commission, supported by reasons, shall be in writing and the seal of the Commission affixed thereto in accordance with paragraph (c) of section 10.

(7) In case there is an equality of votes on any matter to be decided by the Commission, the Chairman shall have a casting vote.

(8) Subject to the preceding provisions of this section, the Commission may regulate the procedure in regard to the meetings of the Commission and the transaction of business at such meetings.

(9) No act, decision or proceeding of the Commission shall be deemed to be invalid by reason only of the existence of any vacancy in its membership or defect in the appointment of any member thereof.

10. Seal of the Commission.

The seal of the Commission—

(a) shall be determined by the Commission and may be altered in such manner as may be determined by the Commission;

(b) shall be in the custody of such person as the Commission may determine from time to time;

(c) shall not be affixed to any instrument or document except with the sanction of the Commission and in the presence of two members of the Commission who shall sign the instrument or document in token of their presence.

PART III

APPOINTMENT OF DIRECTOR-GENERAL DEPUTY DIRECTORS-GENERAL AND OTHERS STAFF

11. Director-General and Deputy Director-General of the Commission.

(1) The Commission shall within three months of the appointment of its first members, and thereafter whenever a vacancy arises, appoint a person to be the Director-General of the Commission (hereinafter referred to as the "Director-General”) who shall be the Chief Executive officer of the Commission. The Commission shall determine the conditions of employment including remuneration of the Director-General.

(2) The Commission may appoint one or more Deputy Directors-General as it considers necessary with responsibility for a specific industry.

(3) The provisions of subsections (1) and (2) of section 5 and subsection (7) of section 6 shall, mutatis and mutandis, apply in relation to the appointments of the Director-General and the Deputy Directors-General.

(4) The Director-General shall subject to the general direction and control of the Commission, be charged with the conduct of the day to day activities of the Commission required for the exercise of its powers, performance of its duties and functions and the administration and control of the staff of the Commission.

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