Muthurajawala garbage dumping temporarily halted


The Supreme Court today issued an Interim Order preventing authorities including the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) from dumping garbage in the Muthurajawela Sanctuary until the final determination of a Fundamental Rights petition is made.

Three-judge-bench comprising Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, Justice Eva Wanasundara and Justice Vijith Malalgoda made this order pursuant to a fundamental rights petition filed by 35 residents in the close proximity of the Muthurajawela Sanctuary seeking an Interim Order directing the authorities not to store or dump garbage in the Sanctuary.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court also granted leave to proceed with this petition and argument was fixed for March 12.

The Court further ordered the Director General of Wildlife to formulate a map pertaining to Muthirajawela Sanctuary in accordance with the Wildlife Department gazette notification.

Counsel Senani Dayaratne appearing for the CMC informed Court that the CMC was not disposing garbage at the Muthurajawela Sanctuary.

The petitioners cited Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), CMC Municipal Commissioner, Urban Development Authority (UDA), Central Environment Authority (CEA), the Wattala Pradeshiya Sabha and six other parties as respondents.

The petitioners further stated that the petitioners and their families and other residents of the close proximity of Muthurajawela Sanctuary have been severely affected and continue to be affected by this dumping.

The petitioners further stated that the area in question is declared a sanctuary under the Flora and Fauna Protection Act by the Gazette dated 31.10.1996 in recognition of its vast bio-diversity.

The petitioners further stated that the Muthurajawela is also a large paddy field and it is also consist of water canals marsh lands and the forest.

As per the register of the Agrarian Development Office of the area shows that the total extent of paddy fields in the Muthurajawela amount to 635 acres and a marsh and mangrove amounts to 7000 acres, the petitioners added.

The petitioners stated that by the said action of dumping garbage in to the sanctuary without any authority or following property procedures, the authorities who allowed and commits such acts have violated the Laws of the country including Section 33(1) and 34(1) of the Agrarian Development Act No.46 of 2000, section 7(1) (h) (i), Section 7(1) (c) (ii) of the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance.

The said acts done by the CMC have infringed Fundamental Rights of the petitioners as well as of the members of the general public guaranteed to them by them by Article 12(1) and 14(1) (g) and the Fundamental Right to life which is also constituted and guaranteed by the Constitution of the republic.

The petitioners further sought a declaration on the respondents to take necessary actions and appropriate steps to ensure that no garbage is deposited and dumped in the Muthurajawela Sanctuary.

Senior Counsel Dr. Sunil Coorey appeared for the petitioners. 

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