Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Sri Lanka- Law to label GM foods gazetted

17 August 2006, Colombo. As requested by the Centre for Environmental Justice in its Writ application No.1380/06, Hemantha Withanage Vs Consumer Affairs Authority and others filed on 4th May 2005, the Government of Sri Lanka finally gazetted GM food labeling legislation (Gazette Ex. Ordinary. 1456/22 , 3rd August 2006) early this month making it mandatory for importers and local manufacturers of GM foods to label their products in the future.
The law which will come into effect from January 1, 2007 requires all GM food items to carry a prominent sticker informing that the product contains GM materials, giving the consumer the freedom of choice. Defaulters of this law will have to face a six-month jail term or a Rs. 10,000 fine or both under the Food Act, No. 26 of 1980.
All GM food importers will be required to apply for a permit from the Food Advisory Committee chaired by the Health Services Director General to import GM products in future. The permit will be given after verifying that the products are safe for human consumption and with the condition that it will be prominently labelled.
According to Dilena Pathragoda of Center for Environmental Justice, there are more than 100 GM food items available in the Sri Lankan markets. Once the law is implemented people will have the information to decide whether they would consume GM food or not.
Gazette Ex. Ordinary. 1456/22 , 3rd August 2006 on GM regulations can be found in http://www.documents.gov.lk/Extgzt/2006/Pdf/Aug/1456-22/1456-22e.pdf
The petition can be found in http://www.ejustice.lk/PDF/PDF-GM%20petition.pdf
More Information
Dilena Pathragoda, Director, Centre for Environmental Justice dilena@ejustice.lk
Nilmal Wikramasinghe, Legal Officer info@ejustice.lk
20A, Kuruppu Road, Colombo 08, Sri Lanka Website www.ejustice.lk

Centre for Environmental Justice

Centre for Environmental Justice


CEJ New case- challenging the constitutionality of the North Western Province Environmental Statute

July 14 2006,Colombo, Mr. Hemantha Withanage, Executive Director of the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) of 59/14, Kuruppu Road, Colombo 08 has filed a writ application in the Court of Appeal challenging the constitutionality of the North Western Province Environmental Statute. The application was supported today (14th July 2006) by Counsel Dr. Mangala Wijesinghe appearing with Attorneys Ravindranath Dabare and Ms. Nilmal Wickramasinge, before a bench comprising Justices Sripavan and Abrew.

The North Western Province Environmental Statute No. 12 of 1990 was purportedly made by the North Western Provincial Council following the enactment of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of 1987. The Petitioner stated in his application to the Court that there is no law made by Parliament empowering Provincial Councils to make Statutes for the protection the environment and therefore the North Western Province Environmental Statute is unconstitutional, and sought a writ of certiorari to quash the said statute.

After hearing the submissions made by Counsel for the Petitioner, the Court suggested that because of the constitutional significance of the matter the Attorney General be noticed to appear as amicus curiae. Accordingly, notice was issued on the Attorney General and the matter was re-fixed for support on 24.08 2006. The other Respondents to the application are the Chief Minister of the North Western Provincial Council, Governor of the North Western Province, North Western Province Environmental Authority, Central Environmental Authority, Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government and the Speaker of Parliament.

More in formation:
Nilmal Wikramasinghe, Legal Officer)
Dilena Pathragoda, Director Projects)
011-2683282

Norochcholai Coal Power Plant-Court issued notice to Ceylon Electricity Board and others-C.A.Writ Application No. 1112/2006

25th July 2006, Colombo, Today Court of Appeal issued notice to the Ceylon Electricity Board and eight other respondents to appear before Court in respect of the proposed Norochcholai Coal Power Plant in Sri Lanka.

S. M. Mubarak of 32/15,Service Road, Puttalam and seven others have filed a writ application in the Court of Appeal of Sri Lanka seeking a writ of mandamus against the Ceylon Electricity Board [CEB] and eight other Respondents to conduct an Environment Impact Assessment [EIA] in respect of the Puttalam Coal Power Project at Norochcholai (900MW) and to obtain approval for the same from the Central Environmental Authority [CEA] in the performance of the statutory duty in compliance with the provisions of the National Environmental Act No.47 of 1980, as amended .The application was supported by Counsel Dr. Mangala Wijesinghe appearing with Attorneys Mr. Ravindranath Dabare and Miss. Nilmal Wickramasinghe before a bench comprising Justices K. Sripavan and Sisira De Arbrew.

The Petitioners have stated that because of the adverse impacts on the environment, abiotic, biotic and human, real and potential, an Environmental Impact Assessment [EIA] is essential to proceed with project. In C.A. Application 318/98 an Order had been given directing Respondents including the Ceylon Electricity Board to conduct an EIA under the provisions of the National Environmental Act. They have failed to do so up to date.

In view of the above situation the Petitioners have filed this application in the Court of Appeal. After hearing Counsel for the Petitioners the Court issued notice on the Respondents to appear before Court on 25 August2006.

Centre for Environmental Justice provided legal assistance for the Petitioners.

More information


Center for Environmental Justice
Nilmal Wikramasinghe, 011-2683282
Dilena Pathragoda 0112-683282
Email: info@ejustice.lk