to conserve and maintain the physical environment withinany ‘Special Areas’.
The 1st to 4th Respondents have not provided this Courtwith a rational or justifiable basis for alienating reservedlands of the reservoir and granting permission for construc-tions as referred to above to private parties. It is the viewof this Court that such alienation of lands and grantingpermission for constructions cannot facilitate the achieve-ment of the objects specified in Section 12 of the MahaweliAuthority of Sri Lanka Act.
The Respondents have not sought to justify the alien-ations and permission granted for constructions of the lands
Environmental Foundation Ltd. and others v. Mahawali Authority of
Sri Lanka and others (Ratnayake, J.)
which are the subject matter of this application except tosay that the power of alienation of such lands are with theMahaweli Authority and its authorized officials.
Prom the aforesaid, it is clear that the alienation of thelands and the granting of permission to construct houses inthe lands which are the subject matter of this applicationhave been done in violation of the applicable laws and regula-tions in an arbitrary manner by the 1st Respondent Authoritythereby violating Article 12(1) of the Constitution.
Due to the above reasons, I hold that the 1st RespondentAuthority has violated Article 12(1) of the Constitution by (i)alienation and (ii) granting of permission to construct housesin respect of the lands which are the subject matter of thisapplication.
There are no specific allegations that have been estab-lished against the 2nd Respondent. In paragraph 8(b) of theStatement of Objections of the Is* to 4th Respondents it isstated that the “Alienations have been made prior to thepresent Director General assumed duties.” There is no denialof this position by the Petitioner.
From the pleadings it appears that the impugnedactions have been taken not by the 3rd Respondent who is thepresent Resident Project Manager but by other officials whowere his predecessors as referred to in paragraph 9(c) of theStatement of the Objections of the 1st to 4th Respondents.There are also no particular allegations established againstthe 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th Respondents.
The letter annexed marked ‘P34’ to the petition of thePetitioner clearly set out the circumstances under which the7th Respondent the Medadumbara Pradeshiya Sabha was
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compelled to grant permission for the construction of thehouses.
The Central Environmental Authority which is the12th Respondent cannot be found fault with as the ProjectApproving Agency in terms of the regulations made under theNational Environmental Act, in respect of the area comprisingthe lands and building which are the subject matter ofthis action, is the Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka, the Is*Respondent. This position is stated is the document annexedmarked *P11’ to the Petitioner’s petition.
It is also clear that the 13th Respondent who is theDirector of Wildlife Conservation did not have any powersunder the laws and regulations referred to by the Petitionersin respect of the lands which are the subject matter of thisapplication and this position has been conveyed to the l8tPetitioner by the letter of the 13th Respondent dated 18thSeptember 2006 annexed by the Petitioners themselves totheir petition marked as *P 18(b)’.
In paragraphs (g) and (h) of the prayer to the petition, the •Petitioner have prayed for relief as follows
“(g) Declare and direct the 1st to 10th Respondents and/oranyone or more of them to forthwith revoke/cancel allpermits and instruments of alienation/disposition issuedin respect of the said lands and/or building approvalsissued to the occupants of the said lands and/or issuedin breach/ violation of the condition/guidelines formulatedby the special committee in 1977 (as contained in thedocument marked PI 2); and/or”
(h) Declare and direct the 1st to 4th and/or 7th and/or 8th and/or 9th and/or 10th Respondents to forthwith take steps andmeasures according to law to eject the occupants of allthe said lands and recover vacant possession of the said
Environmental Foundation Ltd. and others v. MahawaU Authority of
Sri Lanka and others (Ratnayake, J.)
lands and/or to demolish all the buildings and permanentstructures erected thereon and/or to demolish any suchbuildings/permanent structures that had been erectedthereon in breach of the conditions/ guidelines formulat-ed by the special committee in 1997 (as contained in thedocument marked P 12) and buildings and structures inrespect of which the Mahaweli Authority has not grantedEIA or IEE Approval; in so far any such demolition does notcause any further harm or damage to the environment;’'
This Court will not be able to make the orders referred toabove as the grantees and/or the occupants of the lands havenot been made parties to this application. When the mainallegations of the Petitioners are the arbitrary and adhocalienation of the lands and the permission granted to con-struct the buildings, it is necessary that the grantees and/or the persons in occupation of the lands whose interestswould be directly affected be made parties. This has deprivedthe Court the ability of making a suitable order in respect ofsuch alienations and the permission granted to construct thebuildings.
The Petitioners make specific reference in paragraph 33of the petition, of 3 allotments of land identified as lots 13,14 and 15, each containing in extent 15.30 perches situatedwithin the said 100m. area from the Victoria Reservoir whichhad been allegedly alienated by the former Resident ProjectManager to private parties. The Site Visit Report annexedmarked ‘P21’ to the Petition of the Petitioners identified thenames of the persons who are in possession as permit holders.But the permit holders, grantees or the former Resident ProjectManager have not been made parties to this application.Paragraph 4 of the Petitioner’s petition states that “ThePetitioners have instituted this application in the best interestof the public, having regard, inter alia to article 28(f) of theConstitution. The Petitioners further state that a meaningful
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and positive result from these proceedings will also benefitthe public and most significantly the environment.” The Courtwhilst appreciating the service done by the Petitioners infiling this application nevertheless observes that not namingas parties the persons referred to above have affected theability of Court to grant more positive and meaningfulresults.
In the circumstances mentioned above, this Court makesorder as follows:-
The 1st Respondent has violated the fundamental right toequality and equal protection of the law as guaranteed tothe Petitioners by Article 12(1) of the Constitution,
Court directs that a proper investigation be conducted bythe 2nd Respondent and suitable action be taken againstthe officials responsible for the unauthorized alienationsand the granting of permission to construct buildings inviolation of the applicable legal provisions,
Court holds that no further allocation of lands in the subjectarea be made without following the procedure laid downunder Part IV C of the National Environmental Act No. 47of 1980, and the regulations made their under,
Court also holds that the guide lines contained in the docu-ment annexed marked as “PI 2” to the petition be followedin the future when granting permission for the constructionof residential buildings,
Court also orders that the 1st Respondent shall pay each ofthe Petitioners a sum ofRs. 25,000/- as costs.
J. A. N. DE SILVA, C. J. – I agree.
MARSOOF, J. – I agree.Relief granted