Lanka Cabinet decides to reimpose ban on women buying alcohol
Colombo: In a U-turn, the Sri Lankan Cabinet on Tuesday decided to reimpose the 39-year-old "sexist" law banning women from buying alcohol or working in places that sell or manufacture liquor.
It also decided to reduce the extended opening hours for bars and pubs announced last week.
A finance ministry official on January 12 had announced lifting of the 1979 law that prohibited the sale of any type of alcohol to women on the island of 21 million people 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.
"The Cabinet has decided to rescind the gazette notification (on lifting of ban)," Minister of Ports and Shipping Mahinda Samarasinghe told reporters.
Addressing a public rally on Saturday last, President Maithripala Sirisena had said that he was against the move and wanted the gazette notification to be cancelled.
He said he was against promoting alcoholism and demeaning the women by linking them to the alcohol business.
Critics have accused the president of not taking gender equality seriously.