The Director-General of Wildlife has given a firm undertaking to define the physical boundaries of the Muthurajawela Sanctuary (Block 1 and 2) within six months, the Attorney today General informed the Court of Appeal.

Additional Solicitor General Sumathi Dharmawardena, PC appearing for the Attorney General made these remarks when the writ petitions filed by Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith and Centre for Environmental Justice were taken up before the Court of Appeal.

ASG Dharmawardena further informed the court that Central Environmental Authority has also given an undertaking to physically demarcate the environmental protected areas of Southern and Western boundaries of the sanctuary within six months.

Meanwhile, all parties including petitioner Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith and respondents parties gave an undertaking to corporate with the demarcation process while extending their assistance to law enforcement authorities.

ASG Dharmawardena addressing the Court insisted on the necessity of the cooperation of all parties towards the law enforcement authorities.

‘We hope that all parties including Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith will corporate with this demarcation process. There may be some issues when authorities attempt to demarcate the boundaries. The assistance of Divisional Secretaries and IGP is required to be obtained’, Dharmawardena added.

He further said Central Environmental Authority has erected informatory hoardings informing the citizens that all construction and development activities within the Environmental Protection Area of the Muthurajawcla Sanctuary, shall be subject to prior approval and authorization of the Respondent in terms of the provisions set out in The National Environmental Act.

Meanwhile, President’s Counsel Jayantha Weerasinghe appearing for the 19th respondent of the petition alleged that  Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has intervened to construct a village within the Muthurajawela Sanctuary, in an illegal manner.

On July 26, the Court of Appeal two-judge-bench comprising Justice Sobhitha Rajakaruna and Justice Dhammika Ganepola issued an order directing the Surveyor General to expedite the demarcation of physical boundaries of Muthurajawela Sanctuary, to clarify the legal status.

In their petition, the Centre for Environmental Justice and its Executive Director  Withanage Don Hemantha Ranjith Sisira Kumara named Central Environmental Authority, Minister of Environment, Minister of WildLife and Forest Conservation and nine others as respondents.

The petitioners are seeking an interim order directing the respondents to stay any further dumping of waste and the filling of lands within the Muthurajawela Sanctuary.


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