Three cases CA (Writ) Nos. 125, 135 & 205/2013 challenging the forcible acquisition by the Rajapaksa regime of traditional land of Northern Province Tamils were taken up in the Appeal Court today (27.08.2013) before President of the Appeal Court Justice S. Sriskandaraja and Justice Malani Gooneratne.
In two of the cases, 2176 Jaffna Tamil landowners are the petitioners. In the third case, the petitioner is the Roman Catholic Bishop of Jaffna (Thomas Soundaranayagam) himself, appealing to the court for relief for church owned properties as well as other residents of the Northern Province, whose lands are being forcibly grabbed unlawfully.
All petitioners are pleading for relief to be given to all affected landowners, in a massive land extent more than two-third the size of Colombo City. President’s Counsel K. Kanag-Isvaran with M. A. Sumanthiran, Viran Corea, Lakshmanan Jeyakumar and Niran Anketell appeared for the petitioners instructed by their proctor Mohan Balendra.
Deputy Solicitor General Shavindra Fernando appeared for the respondents in the two cases by 2176 petitioners today and requested for more time to file objections. The court gave time till 07.11.2013 to file objections. Fernando said he wants to see what happens in some similar cases filed in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is now run by de facto Chief Justice Mohan Pieris.
Another Deputy Solicitor General Janak de Silva appeared for the 2nd respondent only in CA (Writ) 205/2013 (the Jaffna Catholic Bishop’s case). Although the other respondents had been issued notice, they had failed to come to court. Therefore the court ordered for the absent respondents also to be noticed to file any objections. In this case too, the court gave time till 07.11.2013 for the DSG to file objections.
A senior political analyst said that it looks like the Rajapaksa regime is deliberately trying to delay filing its position on this matter in writing till the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is held in Colombo in November of this year.
Reports indicate that the arbitrary manner of the huge land grab is giving big heartburn to the Tamil community and attracting heavy outrage in civil society. The international community is reported to be highly concerned about this matter. According to reports, the Rajapaksa regime is under huge pressure from many democratic countries, for their highhanded actions in this matter.