The writ applications filed by 2176 Jaffna Tamils in a desparate bid to prevent their lands and homes being grabbed by the Rajapaksa regime were taken up for support in the Appeal Court today (30.05.2013), before Justice S. Sriskandaraja, President of the Court of Appeal.
The Appeal Court heard counsel and issued notice on the respondents to show cause if any through filing of objections, as to why the court should not grant the reliefs asked for. The date given for the purpose was10.07.2013.
Counsel for the petitioners were permitted by the Appeal Court to reserve and retain the right to press for interim relief.
CA (Writ) 125/2013 (with 1474 petitioners) and CA (Writ) 135/2013 (with 702 petitioners), both fixed for support today, were by petitioners who set out in their petitions, the grave prejudice caused by the forcible acquisition of an area of the Jaffna Peninsula equivalent to two-third of the entire city of Colombo.
The petitioners in CA (Writ) 125/2013, who first came to court upon learning of initial steps under section 2 of the Land Acquisition Act, had amended their petition, to include the fact that thereafter, a purported publication under section 38 Proviso A of the Land Acquisition Act had been gazetted by the regime, making out that the land is needed urgently.
The petitions in both cases ask the Appeal Court to quash both steps taken – notice under section 2 and further decision to acquire under section 38 Proviso A by writs of Certiorari and for writs of Prohibition preventing further steps in that direction. The petitions stated the grave and irreversible prejudice that would be caused to them, unless the respondents were stayed from taking any further steps until the cases are gone into by court.
The petitioners in both cases who say they are forcibly prevented from accessing their lands, urge effectively that the steps to acquire their traditional lands to perpetuate their illegal military occupation is perverse and does not constitute a genuine or acceptable public purpose, and that no steps under Section 38 Proviso A could be legitimately taken in the given circumstances.
Among the prejudice complained of by the 2176 petitioners, is effective erosion of the rights of Tamils of the Jaffna Peninsula under their personal laws (known as “Tesawalamai”) which has been enjoyed and applicable for hundreds of years.
The petitioners in both cases were represented by K. Kanag-Isvaran, PC with M. A. Sumanthiran, Viran Corea, Lakshmanan Jeyakumar, Niran Anketell and Bhavani Fonseka instructed by Suntheralingam & Balendra, Attorneys-at-Law. Deputy Solicitor General Murdu Fernando appeared for the respondents.