Wood carving firm gets Court relief

Wednesday, 12 January 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By S.S. Selvanayagam

The Court of Appeal yesterday (10) extended the status quo preventing the imminent arrest of the Managing Director of the Oak-Ray Wood Carving in respect of its impugned development, which is situated within 400 yards from the Sigiriya Rock.

The Bench comprising Justices Sathya Hettige (President) and Upaly Abeyrathne extended the status quo till 9 February. Petitioners are Oak-Ray Wood Carving and its Managing Director S. Palliyaguruge. Archaeology Department Director General, Central Province Archaeology Area Office Assistant Director, SSP Ravi Waidyalankara, IP S.H.A.R. Chaminda of the Special Investigations Unit for Prevention of Destruction of Archaeological Material, Sigiriya Police OIC Vajira Atapattu, Zonal Research Assistant D.A.N. Dilrukshika, Dambulla Pradeshiya Sabha and its Chairman are cited as Respondents.

Faisz Musthapha PC with Faizar Musthapha Markar and Ashika Dissanayake instructed by Gowry Shangary Thavarasha appeared for the Petitioners. State Counsel Yursha de Silva appeared for the Respondents. Oak-Ray Wood Carving operates a restaurant, wood carving workshop and a sales outlet for the sale of wood carving to foreigners.

Petition states approval was granted by Department of Archaeology to renovate the existing toilets and building but not to construct toilets and a development license was issued by the Dambulla Pradeshiya Sabha relating to the said property.

The said development of the said building was carried out in terms of conditions in the license and in accordance with the said plan under the supervision of the Zonal Research Assistant and an officer attached to the Archaeology unit Sigiriya, the Petitioners state. Petitioners complain that on 10 December 2010 the 1st Respondent Director General of Department of Archaeology called over at the premises and instructed the staff of the Petitioner Company to take steps to demolish the entire building for the reason that the said construction was unauthorised.

They also allege that a Police officer attached to the Sigiriya Police Station called over at the said premises and informed that there was a complaint made by the Zonal Research Assistant that several buildings had been constructed without informing the Archaeology Department and said that steps would be taken to arrest the 2nd Petitioner Managing Director.

Petitioners maintain that the decision of the Archaeology Department Director General not to recommend the said plan was illegal, void and had no force or avail in law.