A Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices Eva Wanasundera and Anil Gooneratne has issued an interim order, effective till May 9, restraining the Road Development Authority from cutting down the Bo-tree in Pannipitiya on the border of the Colombo-Avissawella Road.
Ven. Weraduwe Sirijothi Thera of the Sri Punnyabiwardana Ramaya in Kottawa and three others filed the fundamental rights petition citing Minister of Higher Education and Highways, the Maharagama Divisional Secretary, the Chairman of the RDA, the Attorney General and some others as respondents.
Kanishka Vitharana with M.Tillekartne appeared for the petitioners.
The petitioners said the history of the Pannipitiya Bo-tree runs dates back to about 400 years and the story of its origin has been transmitted by word of mouth for generations.
They said the RDA had attempted to cut it down in 2015 for the purpose of developing the High-level Road but was foiled by strong public protest and pointed out that cutting down of the Bo-tree would the deprive the residents of the cultural and religious values and violate the fundamental rights to equality and discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, language and caste.
The petitioners said the cutting down of the said Bo-tree would violate the constitutional responsibility of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana and to give the foremost place to Buddhism as provided in the Article 9 of the Constitution. (S.S. Selvanayagam)