TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran told Parliament today that the 2020 Appropriation Bill is an attempt to cover up illegal activities that the government has carried out in respect of public finances.

Speaking during the debate on the Bill, the TNA MP said Parliamentary resolutions can only be used to draw from the consolidated funds for specific public services expenditures such as the paying of government servant salaries.

“The constitution does not permit the levying of taxes or government borrowing under this arrangement. Similarly, the constitution does not permit spending on developmental activities under parliamentary resolutions or presidential authorisation. For such necessities, an appropriation act must be passed in advance,” he said.

Sumanthiran pointed out that the government having failed to do so in advance is now trying to retrospectively cover up its illegal conduct by bringing an Appropriation Bill at the tail end of the year and faulted the government for stubbornly refusing to reconvene Parliament earlier in the year which would have helped avoid violating the law.

He also criticised the government's shift away from the rule of law to 'rule by decree' as fundamentally undemocratic.