Supreme Court overturns injunction ordering suspension of Gulhifalhu reclamation

90 hectares of land reclaimed from Gulhifalhu. (Photo/Minister Muthalib)

Supreme Court, on Wednesday, have overturned the High Court injunction ordering the suspension of K. Gulhifalhu reclamation project.

The reclamation of Gulhufalhi for housing began in 2020, during the former administration. Environmental activist Humaida Abdul Ghafoor had filed a case with the Civil Court, seeking a halt to the Gulhifalhu project, citing irrevocable damage to the environment. But after the court denied an injunction to halt the project, she appealed the decision with the High Court which granted the injunction. 

The Attorney General’s Office appealed the injunction with the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court, on Wednesday, overturned the injunction by the unanimous consensus of the three justices who presideded over the case, citing the injunction had been issued in violation of the regulations set forth by the apex court. 

As per the agreement executed for Gulhifalhu reclamation project between the state and  Netherland-based contractor Boskalis, the state will be manded to pay 15,300 euros as compensation to the contractor if the work is stalled. 

Supreme Court, in its ruling, said the state will incur irrecovable damages if the work is stalled. While acknowledging there will be environemntal damage due to the reclamation, the court stressed that it was unclear whether the damage is permanent or not 

As of March 17th, 127.9 hectors of land had been reclaimed from Gulhifalhu, according to Infrastructure Minister Dr. Abdulla Muthalib. 

Gulhifalhu reclamation project is valued at MVR 2 billion. 

The reclamation of Gulhifalhu, along with Giraavarufalhu and Hulhumale’ is part of the ‘Binveriya’ housing scheme, launched by former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. His administration had announced plans to issue at least 1,000 plots from Hulhumale’, 2,000 from Gulhifalhu, and another 2,000 from Giraavarufalhu, to provide housing to residents of Male’.