Writ Petition against Coca Cola fixed for support on 27 June

Friday, 6 May 2016 00:27 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By S.S.Selvanayagam

 The Court of Appeal yesterday (5) fixed for support on 27 June, the Writ petition filed against Coca Cola Beverages Ltd of Biyagama complaining of releasing factory effluence into the Kelaniya River. 

The matter came up before Justice Vijith K. Malalgoda (President/CA). 

The Court declined to grant relief in respect of four reliefs prayed for by the Petitioner and directed to strike off the names of Country Manager Patrick Pech and Chairman Asoka Wickramasinha cited as Respondents. 

Court has already directed to issue notices on Minister of City Planning & Water Supply Rauff Hakeem, Ministry Secretary B.M.U.D.Basnayake, Mahaweli Development & Environment Deputy Minister Anuradha Jayaratne, its Ministry Secretary Udaya R. Seneviratne as well as Central Environmental Authority (CEA)Chairman Prof. Lal Mervyn Dharmasiri.  Petilioner D.N.Prasanna Jayasekera, Resident of Mount Lavinia has also cited Coca Cola Beverages Ltd as Respondent. 

He alleges the authorities in charge of environmental issues remain silent on the matter of water contamination by this multinational company.  He states the residents of Colombo district draw their water supply from the supply lines of the National Water Supply & Drainage Board sourced to the Kelaniya River which supplies the Ambatale reservoir which is the primary source of the domestic water supplies of the Colombo residents.

 He states the Indian experts commissioned by the CEA have indicated that a chemical which is very possibly poisonous has been released to the Kelaniya river by the said multinational company.  He also states the spokesman of the CEA have stated in no uncertain terms that the Biyagama Coca Cola factory had discharged effluence into the Kelaniya river, endangering the water supply of the people of Colombo. 

He charges this is reasonable evidence that the politicians i.e. people’s representatives, are wary of taking issue with a multinational giant and underlines the right to water and sanitation has been declared a human right by the UN. 

He is seeking the Court to issue order quashing the Environmental License issued to the said company and to award a compensation of of Rs 5,000 or more each to all consumers of water dependent of the Colombo water supply from the Ambatale reservoir for medical tests. 

Rajpal Abeynayake with K.Kaneshayogan appeared for the Petitioner. Romesh de Silva PC with Sugath Caldera appeared for Coco Cola Beverages Ltd, its Chairman and Country Manager. Senior State Counsel Vikum De Abrew appeared for the Attorney General.