Petitioner refuses to withdraw case against Wilpattu reserve settlements

by Chitra Weerarathne

The Centre for Environmental Justice would not withdraw their petition, even if already 1,500 families had been settled in the Wilpattu Periyamadu, Mariachchkachchu area, said Counsel Ravindranath Dabare yesterday in the Court of Appeal.

Those settlements were bad in procedure, the counsel argued.

The Court of Appeal yesterday gave the Attorney General and other respondents, time till Nov. 12 to file objections to the writ application filed by the Centre for Environmental Justice complaining of the illegal settlement of persons in about 300 acres of forest reserve bordering Wilpattu in Periyamadu, Marichchakachchu areas.

The petitioners complained that around 1,500 families had been settled without a proper environmental feasibility survey done. The procedure was bad in law.

Among the respondents are the Department of Forests, Central Environmental Authority, Director General Wildlife, and the Commissioner General of lands and Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.

Senior Counsel for the petitioner, Ravindranath Dabare, told the Court that on no account would his client withdraw the petition, even if about 1,500 families had been settled illegally in the forest reserve. They would proceed with their case.

Ravindranath Dabare, appeared with Nilmal Wickremasinghe for the petitioner.

The Bench Comprised Justice Vijith Malalgoda (President of the Court of Appeal).

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