Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) and Hemantha Withanage, Executive Director of the CEJ filed a new Writ application yesterday (28) in the Court of Appeal against revoking the Circulars No. 05/2001 dated 10.08.2001 and Circular No. 02/2006 dated 2006.05.17.
These Circulars were revoked by way of Circular MWFC/1/2020 dated 04.11.2020 by Secretary to the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation with immediate effect and without any authority under Forest Conservation Ordinance or any other written law to issue such circular.
Petitioners seek Writ of Mandamus and Certiorari against the respondents of the Secretary of Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation, Minister of Wildlife and Forest Conservation, Conservator General of Forests, the Secretary of Ministry of Environment and the Hon. Attorney General under the Article 140 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka.
Petitioners states Forest Conservation Ordinance was amended by Forest (Amendment) Act No. 65 of 2009 and Section 20 of the principal enactment was repealed and replaced.
The new Section 20 listed out the acts which are prohibited in any Forest other than a Conservation Forest, Reserve Forest or Village Forest (i.e. to mean and include Other State Forest) and also set out the punishment for the commission and for aiding and abetting in the commission of any offence under the said Section. Thus, by the said amendment Other State Forest was brought under the protection of the Forest Ordinance and the purview of the Forest Conservation Department.