The Supreme Court today issued a landmark verdict on land powers under the 13th Amendment ruling that rights over land are vested with the central Government and not the provincial councils.
The bench comprised de facto Chief Justice Mohan Peiris and Justices K. Sripavan and Eva Wanasundera.
The Judges ruled that under the constitution land was vested in the people or the central government to be handed over to the provincial councils according to law and on their request.
Today’s judgment also overturns rulings by former Chief Justice Sarath N Silva and CJ 43 Shirani Bandaranayake who ruled separately that land powers lay with the provincial councils.
Land and police powers although devolved under the 13th Amendment have never been granted to provincial administrations. The ruling comes a few days after Sri Lanka’s northern Tamils gave the Tamil National Alliance an overwhelming mandate to seek greater autonomy and political rights for the region.
The Jathika Hela Urumaya has hailed the Supreme Court decision.
Attorney at Law Gomin Dayasri appeared on behalf of the Plantation Ministry while M.A. Sumanthiran appeared as Counsel for the other party. The ruling came in a case pertaining to a land dispute in the Central Province.