wins Galle Face Green case: SC orders Rs 50,000 costs against UDA
The Environmental Foundation Limited has announced that a three
judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Sarath
N. Silva, has allowed the Fundamental Rights application filed by
EFL and set aside an agreement entered into by the Urban Development
Authority (UDA) and a private company of the EAP Edirisinghe Group.
agreement would have allowed the company to take over Galle Face
Green to set up an entertainment centre for the public. When news
of this agreement came into the public domain in early 2004, EFL
wrote letters to the UDA and the private company asking for the
disclosure of the agreement together with the development plan and
the vesting order vesting Galle Face Green under the UDA.
replied refusing to disclose the said document. EFL thereupon filed
Fundamental Rights application No. 47/ 2004 stating that its fundamental
rights under Articles 12 (1), 14 (1) (a) and 14 (1) (g) of the Constitution
had been infringed.
the case was supported in 2004, a Stay Order was issued restraining
the Respondents from bringing the said agreement into operation
pending the hearing and final determination of the application.
Three Respondents filed objections and the 2nd Respondent filed
a copy of the said agreement.
the matter was taken for argument on 2nd November 2005, it appeared
that no vesting order vesting Galle Face Green in the UDA could
In the course of argument, counsel for the Petitioner requested
Court to set aside the agreement in the exercise of the Court’s
inherent jurisdiction under Article 126 (4), as the agreement was
clearly ultra vires the Urban Development Authority law and contrary
to the public interest.
the course of this judgment, the Supreme Court referred to the fact
that Galle Face Green had been dedicated to the public by the Colonial
Governor, Sir Henry Ward and that the Government of Sri Lanka as
the successor to the Colonial Government, should honour this pledge
and allocate adequate resources to the maintenance of Galle Face
Court set aside the agreement and declared that the fundamental
rights of the Environmental Foundation Limited had been violated
and ordered Rs 50,000 costs against the UDA.
I. R. Rajepakse with Ms Pamoda Rajakeeya appeared for Petitioner
Romesh De Silva, Presidents Counsel with Sugath Caldera appeared
for the 1st Respondent UDA. S. A. Parthalingam, Presidents Counsel
with S. Cooray appeared for 2nd Respondent E.A.P. Group of Companies
and M. Pulle, State Counsel appeared for the Attorney General.