Writ petition against Basil, Bathiudeen fixed for argument | Daily News
Deforestation in Mannar district

Writ petition against Basil, Bathiudeen fixed for argument

A writ petition filed against former Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, Conservator General of Forests and several others for allegedly installing a human settlement in the Villattikulam Forest Reserve in the Mannar district was yesterday fixed for argument by the Court of Appeal.

Court of Appeal Justice Arjuna Obeysekara fixed the matter for argument on June 28.

The Court of Appeal decided to consider preliminary objections raised by Minister Bathiudeen and others at an appropriate time.

Two prospective candidates of the 2020 Presidential Election have filed this writ petition in the Court of Appeal against former Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, Conservator General of Forests and several others.

Malinda Seneviratne, a journalist by profession and Nagananda Kodituwakku, a public interest litigation activist filed this petition seeking a Writ of Mandamus order compelling the Conservator General of Forests to regain the control of the area of land unlawfully acquired belonging to reserved forest.

On March 18, the Supreme Court issued an order suspending Attorney-at-Law Nagananda Kodituwakku from practicing as a lawyer for a period of three years. However, he appeared himself as an ordinary citizen when the petition came up for inquiry.

The petitioners stated that natural reserved forests are protected by law and are being administered by the Conservator General of Forests and no such forest can be used for any other purposes with strict penal sanctions provided by law against violations.

The petitioners stated that the Villattikulam Forest Reserve has 2108 hectares of forest cover as per the regulations framed under Section 3 of the Forest Ordinance and published in the Government Gazette No 1759/2 of May 21, 2012 and the law prohibits abuse of any such forest reserve and the state is under duty to protect such forests from any form of exploitation.

The petitioners further stated that Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen’s powers, duties and functions as assigned by the Executive President had been duly published in the Government Gazette and the said assigned powers and duties do not include any power or authority to engage in appropriation of forest lands for human settlement, clearing of such lands and erecting of houses in the forest land appropriated by unlawful means.

The petitioners further stated that on May 7, 2009 on a Presidential directive, 19 member Presidential Task Force (PTF) for resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons in the Northern Province, was formulated with Basil Rajapaksa appointed as the Chairman.

State Counsel Manohara Jayasinghe appeared for the Attorney General. 

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Deforestation in Mannar district: writ petition against Basil and Bathiudeen fixed for argument (14:04)

A writ petition filed against former Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, Conservator General of Forests and several others for allegedly installing human settlement in the Villattikulam reserved forest in Mannar district was today fixed for argument by Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal Justice Arjuna Obeysekara fixed the matter for argument on June 28.

The Court of Appeal decided to consider preliminary objections raised by Minister Bathiudeen and others at an appropriate time.

Two prospective candidates of the 2020 Presidential Election have filed this writ petition in Court of Appeal against former Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, Conservator General of Forests and several others.


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