The Court of Appeal today directed the parties to inform their stance on the next calling date regarding the maintainability of the contempt of court application filed against former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen for his failure to comply with the orders made by the Court of Appeal relating to the Wilpattu National Park case.

President’s Counsel Faisz Musthapha, appearing for Bathiudeen, informed the court that the Supreme Court has already issued an interim order suspending the operation of the order made by the Court of Appeal to implement a tree plantation programme.

The Attorney General also raised concerns regarding the maintainability of this application since the Supreme Court has issued an interim order suspending the operation of the Court of Appeal order.

Accordingly, Court of Appeal Justice (President) Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne and Justice M.A.R. Marikkar fixed the matter for October 20.

In its judgement, the Court of Appeal Court on November 16, 2020, issued an order in the nature of mandamus ordering the Conservator General of the Department of Forest Conservation to take action to implement a tree planting programme in accordance with the provisions of the Forest Ordinance in any area equivalent to the reserve forest area used for the resettlement of IDPs.


The Court of Appeal further ordered former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen to bear the full cost of the tree planting programme in these areas, applying the polluter pays principle.


The Centre for Environmental Justice has filed a contempt of court application in the Court of Appeal against Parliamentarian Rishad Bathiudeen for his deliberate failure to comply with the orders of the Court of Appeal, which amounts to grave contempt of court punishable under Article 105(3) of the Constitution.