Written by Zulfick Farzan
16 Nov, 2020 | 11:08 am
Colombo (News 1st); The Court of Appeal on Monday (16) ruled the clearing of hundreds of acres of land in the Kallaru Forest Reserve close to the Wilpattu National Park under the guise of IDP resettlement, was illegal.
The bench of the Court of the Appeal comprising of Justice Janak De Solva and Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne ordered Ex-Minister Rishad Bathiudeen to use his personal funds to reforest the respective area illegally cleared for IDP resettlement.
The Appeal Court also instructed MP Bathiudeen to pay the cost of the petitioners involved in filing a case against him in this regard.
The verdict comes, after the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) filed a petition against the clearing of the Kallaru Forest Reserve adjacent to the Wilpattu National Park forest reserve and construction of a housing project adjoining the National Park.
The Ministry of Wildlife and Department of Forest Conservation was ordered to monitor the reforestation process by Rishad Bathiudeen and report to the court.
Bathiudeen is currently imprisoned on charges of violating the Presidential Elections Act by misappropriating public funds to the tune of Rs. 9.5 million when he was the Minister of Industry and Commerce.
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