The Denpasar Administrative Court (PTUN) has declared in favor of Bali Friends of the Earth (WALHI) in a legal suit against Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika. The ruling, if it survives the appeals process, could force the Governor to revoke a licenses given to a private company to manage the Ngurah Rai Mangrove Forest Preserve (Taman Hutan Raya Ngurah Rai).
The presiding PTUN judge Asmoro Budi Santoso, quoted by the State News Agency Antara, said: “(We) approve the charge made by the plaintiff (WALHI) and declare void the Governor’s of Bali’s decision 1.051/03-L/HK/2012 granting permission for a nature tourism enterprise to operate in a block of the Taman Hutan Raya Ngurah Rai measuring 102.22 hectares granted to PT Tirta Rahmat Bahari, and hereby order the defendant (the governor) to revoke the subject decree.”
The presiding judge also ordered the governor to pay court costs and related costs of the trial.
In reaching its decision, the Court explained that the decision issued by the Governor of Bali violated the governor’s own declaration of a moratorium on new accommodation in Bali. Adding: “The Governor in issuing his decision was not open with the public and as a result (the decision) was in conflict with the principles of good governance: namely transparency, certainty of law, and caution in the exercise of the law."
Wihartono, the legal representative of WALHI in the case, described the Court’s ruling as correct and called on the governor to immediately follow the order of the court and revoke his decision granting a license to PT Tirta Rahmat Bahari to operate in the mangrove preserve.
Meanwhile, the chairman of WALHI in Bali, Wayan “Gendo” Suardana told the press that the decision represented the first time in the history of Bali that an environmental suit had been filed and won by environmentalists. “This decision will be a good precedence for the enforcement of environmental law and form the jurisprudence for every environmental movement seeking to bring a case before the law,” said Gendo.
Gendo urged the public to take the decision by the Court as an inspiration to oppose government policies that violate the law or cause damage to the public.
At the same time, Gendo called on the government to be more transparent in announcing every policy and allow the public a chance to participate in policy making.
Meanwhile, the governor’s legal team led by Ketut Ngastawa told the press that the decision of the PTUN Denpasar was subject to a further appeal to the PTUN Surabaya.
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