The Supreme Court today issued an interim order suspending the operation of an order made by the Court of Appeal to implement a tree plantation programme, ordering Parliamentarian Rishad Badiuddeen to bear the full cost in any area equivalent to the reserve forest area used for re-settlement of IDPs.

The Supreme Court made this order pursuant to an appeal filed by Parliamentarian Rishad Bathiudeen, which was taken up for support. Bathiudeen sought an order to set aside the judgement of the Court of Appeal in connection with the deforestation of the northern sanctuary of Wilpattu National Park.

The Supreme Court fixed the matter for argument on February 28 next year.

In his special leave to appeal petition, Bathiudeen has raised several legal issues relating to the judgement of the Court of Appeal. Bathiudeen stated that the Court of Appeal has failed to consider whether the petitioner of the writ petition in the 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 he 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 inasmuch as no relief whatsoever was claimed against him.