The Role of the Judiciary in Promoting Sustainable Development in Sri Lanka


  • Kokila Konasinghe Department of Public and International Law, Faculty of Law, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka



The concept of sustainable development, which recognises the need of utilizing the resources by the present generation, without compromising with the needs of the future generations is accepted as an approach which can assist in addressing many environmental concerns in the world. However, notwithstanding the continuous emphasis on the necessity of achieving long-lasting Sustainable Development both in global and domestic contexts, Sri Lanka has experienced the worst form of environmental destruction in recent years, all of which can be linked to the unsustainable efforts in development. These destructive schemes are often described as projects which are essential for the social and economic development and disregard the environmental impacts, and the administrative authorities find it challenging to enforce the existing laws and regulations. In this backdrop, this article analyses how the concept of Sustainable Development has been recognized and interpreted by the judiciary in Sri Lanka, which has always played a vibrant role in the environmental litigation and environmental protection of the country. The research is carried out using the black letter approach of research and international and comparative research methodology using constitutions, legislations, judicial decisions and international conventions as primary sources, and books, journal articles, conference proceedings, and internet resources as secondary sources. The article lays down that Sustainable Development has been a part of the Sri Lankan tradition and religious practice for centuries and the judiciary has in fact supplemented the principle already found in the very roots of its legal system, linking it to the international instruments and obligations of the country.

Keywords: Environmental Protection, Judicial Activism, Sustainable Development, Sri Lanka