The appeal filed by former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen seeking an order to set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal in connection with the deforestation of the northern sanctuary of Wilpattu National Park was today fixed for inquiry by the Supreme Court.

A two-judge bench of the Court comprising  Justice Murdu Fernando and Justice S. Thurairaja fixed the matter for inquiry on the 3rd of February next year.

In its judgment, the Court of Appeal had issued an order directing the Conservator General of the Department of Forest Conservation to implement a tree-planting programme under the provisions of the Forest Ordinance in any area equivalent to the reserve forest area used for resettlement of IDPs.

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

In his application for special leave to appeal, Bathiudeen has raised several legal issues relating to the judgment of the Court of Appeal. The respondent-petitioner (Bathiudeen) stated that the Court of Appeal has failed to consider whether the petitioner of the writ petition in Court of Appeal had locus standi or was competent to maintain the application by way of public interest litigation.

He further stated that the findings of the Court of Appeal that the respondent-petitioner was instrumental in getting the land released for the settlement of IDPs were unsupported by evidence. He further said that the Court of Appeal has granted relief against the Conservator General of the Department of Forest Conservation since no relief whatsoever was claimed against him

Initially, the Center for Environmental Justice filed a writ petition in the Court of Appeal naming Conservator General of Forest Conservation Department, Central Environmental Authority (CEA), Director General of Wild Life Department, Commissioner General of Lands, Commissioner General of Archeological Department, Mannar District Secretary, Rishad Badiuddeen the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Minister of Environment and Mahaweli  Development and the Attorney General as respondents.

The Court of Appeal had also issued a consequential order directing Rishad Badiuddeen to bear the full cost of such tree planting programme applying the polluter pays principle since according to the evidence before Court he was instrumental in using the reserved forest land for the resettlement of the IDPs.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here