After a decade-long wait, the Central Administrative Court will on Thursday issue a verdict on a case filed by residents of Lampang’s Mae Moh district against the Thaksin Shinawatra-led Cabinet for failing to protect a large cluster of 13-million-year-old mollusc fossils.
Surachai Trongnam, secretary-general of the EnLaw Thai Foundation, said the 18 plaintiffs led by Chaliew Thisara had filed a lawsuit against the then-Cabinet for issuing an order that is “illegal and in negligence of its lawful duty”.
This referred to a December 21, 2004, Cabinet resolution to conserve the mollusc fossils in a specific zone – which the plaintiffs said covered too small an area and resulted in fossils outside the zone getting destroyed.
In July 2007, the Administrative Court revoked the Cabinet’s 2004 resolution and a mine operator’s licence that covered the 43-rai (6.88 hectares) area where the fossils were present.
With its lignite plant also present in the area, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand was also ordered to conduct an environmental impact assessment and enclose the fossil area with a retaining wall. The court also told the Fine Arts Department to register the site as a historic area within 180 days after this case is finalised.
Cases filed at the Administrative Court require two levels of court verdicts unlike the civil and criminal court systems that require three levels of court verdicts to finalise a case.