The Court of Appeal today granted further time for former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen to file objections in connection with a contempt of court application filed for his failure to comply with the orders made by the Court of Appeal relating to the Wilpattu National Park case.

Parliamentarian Bathiudeen was present before the court when the matter came up before the Court of Appeal. President’s Counsel Faisz Musthapha, appearing for Bathiudeen, sought further time to file objections against the contempt of court application. Court of Appeal Justice (President) Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne and Justice M.A.R. Marikkar directed the respondent to file objections before July 21. The matter was fixed for support on August 28.

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 re-settlement 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.

The petitioner is seeking an order to issue a Rule requiring the respondent to show cause to the court as to why he should not be punished for committing the offence of Contempt of Court.