CoA issues notices on Environment Minister, 23 others | Daily News


 

Cabinet decision to issue 2,000 firearms to CDF personnel

CoA issues notices on Environment Minister, 23 others

The Court of Appeal yesterday issued notices on the Environment and Wildlife Resources Minister and 23 others, returnable for March 27, in connection with a writ petition filed challenging the Cabinet decision to issue 2,000 of firearms to Civil Defence Force (CDF) personnel in areas affected by the Human-Elephant Conflict.

The Court of Appeal two-judge-bench comprising Justice Shiran Gunaratne and Justice Arjuna Obaysekera made this order pursuant to a writ petition filed by the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS), through President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardena.

The petitioner has cited Environment and Wildlife Resources Minister S.M. Chandrasena, Ministry Secretary Jayanthi Wijethunga, Wildlife Conservation Department Director-General Chandana Sooriyabandara, and 21 others, as respondents.

Through this petition, the petitioner is seeking an order directing the respondents to recall and collect the firearms and ammunition, if those items had been distributed to the CDF officials.

The petitioner stated that it was learnt from press reports that the Cabinet of Ministers have approved the issuance of 2,000 firearms to be distributed to personnel of the Civil Defence Force, purportedly to protect themselves against elephants and other wildlife, pursuant to an impugned Cabinet Memorandum presented by the Minister of Wildlife.

The petitioner is further seeking an order in the nature of a Writ of Prohibition restraining the Wildlife Minister and Cabinet of Ministers from approving or permitting the implementation of the said Cabinet Memorandum.

The WNPS said it is concerned about the imminent threat and endangerment posed to the wildlife, especially to the wild elephants pursuant to the concerned Cabinet decision, which envisages an unlawful, short-sighted, and insensible executive act to place fire arms in the hands of CDF personnel.

The petitioner maintained that this decision would lead to further killings or maiming of wild elephants, far in excess of the current numbers being killed or maimed on an annual basis—which, in any event, has forced local wild elephants onto the list of endangered species. The WPNS said they are shocked that the Environment and Wildlife Resources Minister, who is mandated by law to protect and conserve wildlife, has initiated knowingly or unknowingly, a grave, violent and unlawful pogrom, which is diametrically contrary to the interests of conservation, and would contribute to the further destruction of local fauna.

The petitioner stated that the impugned Cabinet Memorandum constitutes a short-sighted, insensible, illegal and unlawful executive action, which, in all likelihood, would bear disastrous consequences.

President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardena, with Counsel Lakmini Warusevitane, appeared on behalf of the petitioner.

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CA issues notices on Wildlife Minister and others (17:04)

The Court of Appeal today issued notices on Minister of Environment and Wildlife Resources and 23 others returnable for March 27 in connection with a writ petition filed challenging the Cabinet decision to issue 2000 of firearms to be distributed to personnel of the Civil Defence Force (CDF) living in areas rife with Human Elephant Conflicts.

The Court of Appeal two-judge-bench comprising Justice Shiran Gunaratne and Justice Arjuna Obaysekera made this order pursuant to a writ petition filed by Wildlife and Nature Protection Society of Sri Lanka, an environmental organisation through President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardena.

The petitioner has cited Minister of Environment and Wildlife Resources S.M. Chandrasena, Ministry Secretary Jayanthi Wijethunga, Wildlife Conservation Department Director General Chandana Sooriyabandara and 21 other respondents including Cabinet of Ministers as the respondents.


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