25 May, 2024


Appeal Court Issues Notice On Respondents In Cases By 2176 Jaffna Tamils Seeking Relief Against Land Grab By Rajapaksa Regime

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.

Related posts;

Acquisition Notices: Militarization Through Grabbing Of Tamil Lands

1474 Northern Tamils Petition Appeal Court To Help Prevent Grab Of Their Homes By Rajapaksa Regime

702 More Jaffna Tamils Petition Appeal Court To Prevent Damage To Their Tesawalamai Rights By Land Grab Of Rajapaksa regime

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Latest comments

  • 0

    Sorry for them losing their lands but surely these citizens must appreciate they can now resort to legal action and seek justice unlike when they were under the jackboot of the LTTE.

  • 0

    The Constitution of Sri Lanka recognises equal opportunities for all and does not recognise any favourable treatment for people of any caste. Thesavalamai Law based on the caste system & slavery appears to be contrary to some clauses in the Constitution of Sri Lanka.

    According to “Understanding Thesavalamai by Guiendran Tambiah”:

    Thesavalamai, in its origin, was intended to serve an agricultural community. It dealt with customary rules governing caste, slavery, marriage, marital rights,, guardianship, adoption, the law of parent and child, of intestate succession, pre-emption, forms of mortgage peculiar to Thesavalamai such as otti and servitudes peculiar to Thesavalamai, the law of property and contractual obligations which were current among the agricultural communities such as those arising from loan of beasts, paddy etc. Slavery was abolished by Regulation No 20 of 1844. In modern times, many of the other provisions contained in Thesavalamai are obsolete. Thus adoption, the law governing obligations and the otti form of mortgage are currently not in use. The customary form of marriages (e.g. The “Thali” ceremony, etc) among the Tamils governed by Thesavalamai are still recognized and followed. Nowadays, possibly just to make sure, such ceremonies are almost always followed by registration. Until recently, certain upper class Tamil families in Colombo used to get down persons of lower castes from Jaffna to perform certain ceremonial duties which are incidental to the marriage ceremony. All other requirements of marriage, such as consent, prohibited degree of marriage etc are governed by the General Marriages Ordinance.

    (4) Thesavalamai is both territorial and personal in character viz: (i) it is applicable to all lands situated in the Northern Province, whether such land is owned by a Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim or Burgher; and (ii) it does not attach itself by reason of descent and religion to the whole Tamil population.

    It is the duty of the government to ensure that this law which is steeped in caste and slavery is not imposed on the lower caste people of Tamil origin by a Provincial Council with a majority of upper caste people.

  • 0

    If you look at the the full petition of the 1474 Appeal some troubling aspects jump out.

    a) A list of Petitioners but not a word on land extent or deed number

    b) Page 47:The Petitioners respectfully seek the permission of Your Lordships’ Court to dispense with the requirement to tender the title deeds of the Petitioners

    c)Page 47:several notices in the Tamil language alone

    So a writ application with not a word about the extent of land being claimed by each petitioner and also requesting that producing deeds be done away.
    The next is that the notices were only in Tamil.

    One could almost suspect the lawyers were in cahoots with the Govt to get this writ thrown out.

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