SC orders committee be appointed to probe concerns

Judge gavel and scale in court. Library with lot of books in background

The Supreme Court yesterday (31) ordered the appointment of a committee, headed by the Secretary to the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation, to investigate the concerns raised in the Petition filed against the digging of trenches as a measure to mitigate the Human-Elephant conflict (HEC).

Supreme Court Justices Priyantha Jayawardena, Shiran Gunaratne and Mahinda Samayawardhena issued the order while instructing the Committee to report back to the Court and for the Petitioners to report their concerns in this connection to the committee.

The Petition was filed by the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) and its Executive Director Dilena Pathragoda together with its senior adviser and Chair of Friends of Earth International Hemantha Withanage.

Submissions made on behalf of the Attorney General emphasised on the fact that the digging of trenches has already been suspended following which the Court made an order for the appointment of a committee to look into the other concerns raised in the Petition.

The petitioners, in the Petition, observed that the Director General of Wildlife has initiated a new project which involved the digging of trenches in several areas in the country including around Protected Areas citing it as a strategy to mitigate the HEC without citing any basis or expert recommendations.

By Faadhila Thassim