The Supreme Court last week fixed for support on 26 February 2018 to grant leave to proceed with the Fundamental Rights petition filed in a bid to reopen a portion of the A26 road, part of which passes near Kandy’s Sri Dalada Maligawa.
The matter came up before a bench comprising Justices Eva Wanasundera, Priyantha Jayawardane and Nalin Perera.
Buddhist monks and laymen have intervened to protest the rights petition. The Intervenient-Petitioners are Sri Dalada Maligawa Diyawadana Nilame Pradeep Nilanga Dela, Ven. Anamaduve Sri Dhammadassi Anunayake, Ven. Vendaruve Sri Upali Anunayake Thero, Ven. Medagama Dhammananda Thero, Narampanave Ananda Thero, Ven. Muruddeniye Dhammarathana Thero, Ven. Kahawaththe Saranankara Thero, members of the Asgiri and Malwathu Karaka Sanga Sabhas and Sri Vishnu Mahaa Devalaya Basnayake Nilame Mahindra Ratwatte in one intervenient petition.
Sanjeeva Jayawardane PC with Charitha Rupasinghe and Asoka Niwunhella appeared for the intervenient petitioners.
Nihal Jayamanne PC appeared for the Kandy YMBA and Kandy Buddhist Association. Manohara de Silva PC appeared for several Basnayake Nilames of Pitissara Devalayas.
Faisz Musthapha PC appeared for Kandy Tamil Traders’ Association and Nuwara Sinhala Velantha Samithiya.
J.C. Weliamuna PC appeared for petitioners in the main petition, K. Mudiyanselage Keerthi, H.M. Dayananda, J.M. Mahinda and R. Chandrarathne. They cited the Road Development Authority, IGP, Minister of Higher Education and Highways Lakshman Kiriella, Attorney General and others as respondents.
The petitioners claim that they are individually, jointly and actively engaged in efforts to bring the said A26 Road back to full and free public use as a portion of it has been restricted for public use, inconveniencing the residents of Kandy due to the massive traffic caused.
They state that they are concerned with the health issues, environmental pollution and detrimental economic effects caused as a direct result of the restriction.
They state that the said road, which is a roughly 600-meter stretch of the A26 Road, passes along the southern boundary of the Sri Dalada Maligawa and the relevant intersection has been the only gateway for three main roads (A1, A9 and A26) which connects a number of provinces and this road is used by approximately more than 10,000 vehicles a day.
They state that the said stretch of the A26 (Kandy-Mahiyangana-Padiyatalawa Road) continued to be a vital intersection and continued to be a vital part of the day-to-day travel of the residents of Kandy until its closure after a terrorist attack on 25 January 1998.
They claim that the terrorist attack was not carried out using the said stretch but the Raja Veediya which has not been closed to date.