CA takes up petition pertaining to 15 illegally captured elephants (Sri
Ifham Nizam, The Island
November 24, 2021
The Court of Appeal yesterday took up a public interest litigation
pertaining to the allegedly illegal gazette pertaining to 15 illegally
The extraordinary gazette was issued on 19 August, 2021, effectively
legalizing the commercial use of elephants, private ownership of elephants,
low standards of welfare and, most importantly, permitted the registration
of the illegally captured elephants.
Several members of animal rights organisations and wildlife
conservationists have petitioned against the gazette in question and a
Magistrate’s Court decision to return 15 illegally captured elephants to
those who claim their ownership.
The presence of animal lovers, conservationists and activists is expected
when the Court of Appeal gives its decision that could impact not only on
the country’s wildlife, but also demonstrate how the rule of law will stand
in the face of power and corruption, litigants maintained.
This case was taken up yesterday before Justice Sobhitha Rajakaruna and
Justice Dhammika Ganepola, Judges of the Court of Appeal.
The Court extended the order to further retain she-elephant “Sujeewa” and
her calf under the care of the Department of Wildlife Conservation and
Zoological Department and prevented the registration of any of the 14
elephants released by the Magistrate’s court, until further notice.
Attorney-at-Law Ravindranath Dabare– Chairperson of CEJ said that the Court
had directed the petitioners to file their counter objections before the 18
January and it had been decided to reconvene the case on the 18 February to
support the application.
Hemantha Withanage, Ranjith Sisira Kumara, Pathragoda Kankanamge Dilena,
Panchali Madurangi Panapitiya, Maheshi Nalinka Munasinghe and Wadduwage
Visakha Perera Tillekeratne are among the petitioners.
State Minister of Wildlife Protection Wimalaweera Dissanayake, Director
General of Wildlife Conservation Chandana Sooriyabandara, Director General
Department of National Zoological Gardens, Officer-in-Charge – Special
Investigation No. 01 Criminal Investigation Department, Inspector General
of Police C. D. Wickramaratne, Additional Magistrate, S. Prabakaran,
Magistrate C. Wickramanayake, and the Attorney General have been cited as