20 October, 2017

Unlawful And Unconstitutional Alienation Of Land

By M.A. Sumanthiran

M.A. Sumanthiran MP

M.A. Sumanthiran MP

The Bill that has been presented in the preamble says that first, it is in furtherance of the development policies being promoted by the Government and in the backdrop of a globally integrated environment that it is deemed expedient and necessary to ensure the prudent use of land which is a limited resource. Now this ideal is most welcome and the Bill as a whole, or at least in the direction that it moves, is a welcome one. But there are several inadequacies in this; several shortcomings in this. During the course of my speech I will endeavour to identify some of those. The second preamble talks about the National Policy: “and whereas it is the National Policy to regulate the use of lands”. I want to pause there for a moment. To declare National Policy under the Constitution, particularly that of land, is not left to the Government. If one looks at Appendix 2 to the Constitution, there should be a National Land Commission. But there is no National Land Commission. This Appendix was brought in 1987, but to date, there is no National Land Commission. The Government is presenting bills boldly stating that it is the National Policy – and states something as the National Policy – which is contrary to the provisions in the Constitution which declares how the National Policy on land use must be formulated. Firstly there must be a National Land Commission, which is not there. Secondly, it says once the National Land Commission is established, it would be the responsibility of that Land Commission to formulate the National Policy. So it is not up to the Cabinet of Ministers who sanctioned this Bill and presented it through one of their Members to this House. It must be the National Land Commission that must formulate the National Policy on land. So there is a very serious breach here of the provisions of the Constitution.

Then it says this Commission will include representatives of all Provincial Councils in the island. That is what the Constitution lays down and in item 3.4 it says in the exercise of the powers devolved on them the powers shall be exercised by the Provincial Councils having due regard to the National Policy formulated by the National Land Commission. So the Constitution is quite clear as to who formulates National Policy on Land and as to who exercises those powers that are devolved on the Provincial Councils in accordance with the National Policy that has been formulated. The Government is observing this wholly in the breach.

The Hon. Member when he spoke before me referred to the 20,000 deeds and permits that were distributed recently in Kilinochchi with much fanfare. The procedure adopted for identifying the recipients on that occasion was wholly opposed to the procedure laid down in the Constitution. That is another one of those instances that we can identify as an intentional violation of the Constitution which in fact is an impeachable offence. I identified some provisions as to who can exercise these powers. It is the Provincial Council that can exercise these powers. I read the provisions in the Constitution. It must be in accordance with the National Land Policy but that National Land Policy must be formulated by the National Land Commission and there is no National Land Commission. That has not been appointed. But it’s not only that. One goes through the procedure that has been laid down with regard to State Land. In Appendix 2…item 1.3 says alienation or disposition of State Land within a province to any citizen or to any organization shall be by the President on the advice of the relevant Provincial Council in accordance with the laws governing the matter. No doubt it is the President who can alienate State Land. The final act of alienation rests entirely with the President, under his hand and with the seal of the Republic. But he does that only on the advice of the relevant Provincial Council in accordance with the laws governing the matter and that is the Constitution. That is the provision in the Constitution I just read in Appendix 2, item 1.3. Now this is being breached, and the Hon. Member had the temerity to ask me why we were not present. We were not present on an occasion when the laws of the land were being breached willy nilly; when the Constitution itself was being breached. When the Provincial Council had nothing to do with picking the recipients or even advising His Excellency as to how this should happen…(interruption)

…I’m broadly, as I said, in agreement with the sentiments in the Bill here although there are serious shortcomings which I will identify. But we do have a situation. We have a much bigger problem with regard to land alienation to the citizens of this country. There is a problem with regard to alienation to foreigners. That must be curbed. That must be restricted, and we welcome your efforts in that direction. We wish more can be done in this. But while you exercise caution with regard to land that can be owned by persons who are not citizens of this country, why don’t you follow the laws with regard to alienation of land to your own citizens?…

(interruption)

Hon. Minister if you listen to my speech you will understand why I am opposing. I’m not opposed to land being given to Tamil people, or Sinhala people or Muslim people. I want land to be given to all the Peoples of this country. I want land to be given to all the citizens of this country. But I want that to be done in accordance with the law, not at the whim and fancy of somebody. There is a law in this country. If there is a law in this country – and I’m quoting from the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Country – and you can’t say one word in defence of the accusation that I’m making. There was no advice from the Provincial Council. What can you say about that? (interruption)

….

Min. Sarath Amunugama: My good friend has raised a question to which he himself knows the answer. If there’s any piece of legislation which is ultra vires the Constitution…

No, I’m not talking about this Bill….

…I’ve raised the question of 20,000 land permits and deeds that were given without the advice of the Provincial Council. Can you give me an answer to that?…so answer that…why don’t you answer that?…I’ll give way to you,  answer that question. You have no answer. You have no answer…..

….so you are conceding now… that those 20,000 deeds and permits have been given unlawfully. There was no exercise of the provisions of the Constitution…

…Min. Sarath Amunugama: I’m not responsible for what you’re saying about 20,000 deeds and permits. Under a different procedure in Parliament we can discuss.

I’m happy with that answer, that you’re not responsible for that. I’m happy with that answer, thank you…

 

Land owners prevented from using their land

…We are concerned with large tracts of land that already belong to the citizenry of this country who have private deeds and who can’t go back to their land….

…There is identified 67,000 acres – 67,000 acres – of land that is not being allowed to be utilized by persons who are owners of that land. Now that is something that we are more concerned about and I’ll cite areas in which this continues to happen. In the Trincomalee District most recently I myself went and saw – in two areas, in Kanguvali and in Thennanmaravady where people who have cultivated those lands, and who were displaced, who have come back and started cultivation are being prevented from cultivating their lands. Now the Government officials are blocking, are taking sides with others, and not allowing even permit holders – even permit holders – to cultivate those lands. In the Amparai District, Pottuvil West, Palaiyadivettai, Karunankoovai area, again 251 farmers are affected. They were given permits. From 1976 onwards they have been cultivating. Most of them are Muslims. They have continued to cultivate, with a short interruption, but from 1996 to 2011 they have cultivated those lands. Now they are being prevented. They are being prevented by Government officials. There is a letter from the Government Agent and from the Divisional Secretary of Laugala who have said that they cannot cultivate those lands and they have been forcibly stopped from cultivating those lands….why is this happening? Why is it happening in Thennanmaravady? Why is it happening in Kanguveli? Why is it happening in Paalaiyadivettai where Tamil and Muslim farmers – I’m ashamed to identify their races – but that is what is happening…

Hon. Minister Sarath Amunugama: It is quite possible that there are administrative problems  that have arisen. But it is your duty to bring it to the Consultative Committee and officials will be there who will give an answer.

We have. We have brought it.

Min. Sarath Amunugama: You’re assuming  – I want to say this – you’re assuming a mala fide on the part of Government. There’s no such thing.

Hon. Minister, if it was one isolated incident in one part I will not assume any such Government policy. But if it is from the Northern part of the Eastern Province to the Southern most part of the Eastern province and if it is happening only to the Tamil and Muslim farmers then I certainly have the right to suspect that there is some kind of policy that is being implemented. That is why I identified areas from the North to the South of the Eastern Province.

Min. Sarath Amunugama: Please answer this question. Have you raised this matter as a National List MP with the Administrative Authority?

Yes. We have raised it.

Min. Sarath Amunugama: So what is the reply?

We have not got any reply. We have raised it, we have not got any reply. But I’m raising it in Parliament because it’s a very serious issue….I have a whole file full of letters that have been written. This issue has been raised. There has been no response to that. And so I’m asking the question: is there something that is going on in stealth, because this is happening not in one place but in several places, particularly  in the Eastern Province.

Now I’ll come to the Northern Province. I said in the Northern province there is 67,000 acres of land where most of it is not State land. Most of it is private land that is held on private deeds and those people are unable to go. Hon. Member of Hambantota from the UNP raised the issue of a golf course somewhere in Moneragala. Now the same type of golf course is there in the Northern Province also – in Valikamam North. 350 acres taken for a golf course for security forces when 7 or 8 villages as a whole have not been able to resettle in that area and they are still living in what is called welfare centers – basically displaced camps. Now why is this happening?

(Referring to Land Alienation Bill) You say you are doing this to protect the rights of the citizen to own land and that you do not want the rights of the citizen to own land taken away by foreign companies and foreigners coming and buying up all this land. That’s a welcome notion. But what about those who already own lands? Already have permits? Merely because they do not belong to one particular community are they to suffer this ignominy of living in welfare centres for 24, 25 years while the land that they cultivated – land that came from several ancestors of theirs is used for golf courses and tennis courts and swimming pools of the military who claim that it to be taken for security purposes? What is the security purpose in swimming pools and tennis courts there? You don’t see a dichotomy here? You don’t see a problem here? With all of this you’re presenting a Bill on the basis that the rights of the citizen to own land must be protected.

Corruption 

…the issue that I want to raise is with regard to the large latitude that has been given to lands that have been identified under the Strategic Development Act. This is where there is opportunity for a large amount of corruption. If you lay down a particular policy and state the law the law must be very clear….

…What is identified as a Strategic Development Project is presented before Parliament and approval is sought. So that comes up for debate. But which of that the two ministers will exempt from the provisions of Section 2 is left to them…on the ground we have seen grave abuse of these discretionary powers that are being given. This does not say that automatically when an industry or an enterprise is identified under the Strategic Development Act that it’ll be exempt from Section 2. It does not say that. It gives to the two ministers concerned the discretion to identify which of those will be exempt from Section 2 and which will not be…

…You’re opening this to grave abuse. And I’m saying this most responsibly. I’m not about to pronounce on this, but the whole country knows the level of corruption in this country today. The whole country knows where that level of corruption is. Whether it’s at the bottom level where some peon is taking Rs. 50/- – no, that is not what is happening in this country. It’s the opposite that is happening. The corruption is at the highest level. When that is the case, giving discretions to higher officials and personalities like this will exacerbate the situation not combat (it)…(interruption)

….that is the other thing. You make the Court independent and we will go and challenge it and have an independent decision. You pack it with your people and expect us to go to Court. That you can’t do. And then sanctimoniously preach to us to go to Court.

Hon. Min. Sarath Amunugama: That is the attitude of the Supreme Court of this Country?

Of course. What do you mean? That is what the people of this country and elsewhere know that Court to be.

*M.A. Sumanthiran on the land alienation bill – extracts of speech in parliament on 20th october 2014

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 16
    3

    SUMMON MARA THE SWINDLER TURNED DICTATOR & GORA THE MERCENARY TO THE PARLIAMENT AND QUESTION THEM.

    This Sarath Amunugama and all the Cabinet Ministers are a bunch of show room products displayed for the purpose of show casing purposes. They do not know whether they are talking or walking, just like robots in human form, SELLING THEIR SOULS FOR PETTY MONETARY GAINS.

    It is the Dictator and the Mercenary who call the shots in all spheres of Sri Lankan state decision making. Be that be in Legislature, Judiciary, Police, Land Appropriation and you name it.

    This cancer has spread all over the system and only a complete overhaul can revert the situation. If this Monster secures another illegal, unconstitutional third term, it will be ABASARANAI TO SRI LANKA.

    IT WILL SURELY BECOME THE MIRACLE OF THE WORLD, VOTED IN BY THE FOOLS OF SRI LANKA.

  • 17
    3

    Well said Mr. Sumanthiran,

    In 2005 MR bribed the LTTE to come into power. Today he has to go directly to the people to bribe them with land for votes in the north, so that he can stay in power. This is a President that the country never voted into power. So he has to adopt various unscrupulous methods to continue his hold on power.

    The Hon. Sarath Amunugama is one of the few learned members left in Parliament today. He is well read and highly educated. But it is sad to see to what levels that such knowledgable and respected people have to stoop down to defend and protect a shamefully corrupt President.

    • 5
      2

      Pot Shot,

      You are addressing this Sarath Amunugama as Hon? Anything but Hon. Ask Geetha Kumarasinghe how long his tongue is?

      • 2
        1

        @ gamini

        Amongst other things Sarath A. has a penchant for seafood which is known to all, not forgetting Geetha??

      • 0
        9

        Gamini, how long is VP’s ****?

        • 4
          1

          Janz

          “Gamini, how long is VP’s ****?”

          Do you regret missing VP’s?

        • 3
          0

          Janz,

          You want to know how long VP’s is? Best person to find that out is ask your mother or your sister.

          • 0
            5

            Gamini, they and all others in this country saw the length for 30 years until MR cut it off. But only your mother and sister can tell us how it tastes.

            • 2
              1

              Sorry mate, I have no sisters and my mother died early ’70s long before the conflict began. So ask your mother and sister for size and taste. They will sure oblige you. Definitely must have been good for thirty years? I am beginning to wonder whether you are the Bastard of VP

              • 1
                0

                Gamini@,

                please be somewhat polite on this forum. JuST leave it and let the men like dogs behave their way.

                We have lot more to discuss as to why the incumbent hide about the loans taken sofar etc. as Dr. Harsha De Silva very clearly pointed out to the nation yesterday.

              • 0
                1

                You lowly man, if your mother is dead, as a matter of respect for her you should not have have pulled up other peoples’ mothers who are also no more. And Geetha Kumarasinge is a living personnel with brothers and sisters. Out of respect to your deceased mother I will not say anything further.

      • 0
        0

        Gamini

        I am just trying to keep the personal side of the politicians out of the debate or else we will have to socially and morally execute each one of them.

        • 3
          0

          Pot Shot,

          All these so called Hon individuals in the present govt including MR has scandalous lives where they have been exposed by the media.

          Pathalay Champika has threatened in the DM today that he will reveal more corruption of MR very soon. Looks like the fireworks will commence before the D-day.

  • 3
    21

    This guy is always complaining about something.

    Just do some work worthy of tax payer funded salary for once in your life please.

    • 7
      3

      I feel sorry for you!! You to write something even if it does not make any sense, Otherwise you will use your pay!! Pathetic existence!!

      • 9
        4

        Truth

        Be kind to Vibhushana, he can’t help hearing voices in his head. H e has no control over his head nor his fingers.

        • 3
          0

          Native Vedda

          One correction. You are right he has no control over his head or fingers but he also has no feelings in any of his other parts. He is impotent. He cant do the shake and vac. I can do it for him if he pays me just ask him and let me know. I do that a lot for ela kola.

    • 9
      1

      I know it hurts when your beloved government’s corruption is exposed. Rajapaksa didn’t have the nerve to be there to defend his budget but left it to an educated but shamelessly servile Amunugama.

      Rajapaksa family excesses are coming to an end, my friend. Get ready for the backlash.

    • 2
      1

      Vibhushana

      Do you have the telephone number for the Bribery Commission.

      • 5
        1

        Ram

        “Do you have the telephone number for the Bribery Commission.”

        I assume you are looking for this:

        Contact Details

        COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS OF BRIBERY OR CORRUPTION
        No 36 Malalasekera Mawatha,
        Colombo 07,
        Sri Lanka.

        General Numbers : +94-11-2559923, +94-11-2596360
        Hot Line : +94-11-2586257

        Email : ciaboc@eureka.lk / sccy@sltnet.lk

        • 3
          1

          Native Vedda

          The information is very helpful. But is the place reachable by bicycle from Hambanthotta.

    • 3
      1

      Vibhushana

      I think you lack comprehension.

    • 1
      1

      Vibhushana

      You have not only lost the election but also your deposit. Why dont you take up arms like me for your voice to be heard.

    • 0
      1

      What an Eunach you should be not to have got the message clearly pointed out by the fearless Sumanthiran. I think we the sinahalese should learn to be like Sumanthirana .. if we had more of AKDs Sumanthirans, Dr. Harsha Silvas and the like charactors in the parliament led by the bunch of thieves today, nothing would have ended up with STALEMATES as it is the reality before the govt today.

  • 7
    4

    Vibhushana,

    The “guy” you referred to is a President councillor (PC)
    and he is an expert in legal matters. Spoken well on Unlawful and unconstitutional alienation of lands and the minister, who is also
    highly educated but had no answer
    if the talk was Greek to you, you better abstain from criticising
    it without understanding what was spoken. Unlawful alienation of lands may cause worries to the Tamils and Muslims now but it may affect the majority in time to come. This is already happening in the city of Colombo and suburbs.

    • 3
      2

      PC from when?

  • 2
    5

    Why the federal govt should not ask the municipality too ? because, ultimately, municipality has to address the needs of those lands.

    What a waste of money. USe public money to screw up public.

    These people are not good lawyers. So get into screwing up public.

  • 7
    5

    Mr.Sumanthiran,
    It is a good speech very much interrupted by the Government ministers. But speeches in parliament is not going to take the Tamils any further. Continued street protests in the North crying the removal of the Army from the North is essential. The protests should be continued until the occupying Army is removed from the private lands in Vali -North

  • 5
    2

    A good speech but as usual our Venereal ASSwara Thero has been interrupting Hon. Sumanthiran! Same sh.. different day??

  • 5
    2

    Unlawful, unconstitutional, corrupted nation ruled by racists, criminals.

  • 2
    10

    Good to see TNA has such great veneration for the SL constitution.

    May I draw your attention to article 157 of the constitution.

    TNA’s conduct is unconstitutional.

    • 3
      1

      Thalaivar

      Here is the article 157 of the constitution in case you haven’t read it:

      International Treaties and Agreements.
      157. Where Parliament by resolution passed by not less than two-thirds of the whole number of Members of Parliament (including those not present) voting in its favour, approves as being essential for the development of the national economy, any Treaty or Agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Government of any foreign State for the promotion and protection of the investments in Sri Lanka of such foreign State, its nationals, or of corporations, companies and other associations incorporated or constituted under its laws, such Treaty or Agreement shall have the force of law in Sri Lanka and otherwise than in the interests of national security no written law shall be enacted or made, and no executive or administrative action shall be taken, in contravention of the provisions of such Treaty or Agreement.

      What is your point?

    • 4
      1

      Talaivar( without a Thalai)

      You dickhead what Constitution are you talking about. Your boss MR has flouted every provision in the Constitution drawn by bunch of Headless people.

  • 4
    1

    Good speech. I would like to hear more of what Mr Sumanthiran has to say about corruption at the top. His argument that the Constitution requires a Land Commission which include representatives from the Provincial Councils is convincing. The allocation of land by the government should be transparent and lawful, not based on political whim and favouritism. It should also not be based on ethnicity or religion.

  • 1
    8

    20,000 Tamil families in Kilinochchi got a block of land each, to build little houses for their kiddies..

    But Mr Sumanathiran is not happy about it, because Rajapaksa didn’t get prior permission from the Vellala CM and his Minders in Colombo, to give away this land.

    Abraham doesn’t complain about the recipients,So obviously there weren’t any Dalits from the South.

    Just imagine if Rajapaksa gave these lands to poor Sinhala Buddhists or even Muslims.dalits from the South?.

    However 67,000 Acres of land in Trico and outer suburbs of Jaffna have been taken over by the Govt says Mr Sumanathiran.

    And he is not , because it is against Constitution.

    And they belong to 250 odd families who have proper titles.

    That works out to over 200 acres per title.

    My Elders tell me even our ex Prez Ms Chandrika has only 50 acres of Coconut in Balangoda.

    These Landlords must be really rich dudes, who were subjected to horrible living conditions under the LTTE and their Diaspora supporters.

    But I know a few friends who came over from Canada and Australia in the last coule of years and sold their properties which Mr Prabakaran had acquired at one stage while the Landlords were away.

    These properties fetched big dosh although some didn’t have widow or door frames or even the roof.

    How did those people not only got their properties back but also sold them and reinvested the returns in Condos in and around Wellala Gardens?.

    While the poor Landlords whom Abraham represents can’t get theirs back?..

    • 1
      0

      Hon Sumanthiran mentioned about 250 families in the east, they are not the owners of 67,000 acres in the north. Your miscalculation not acceptable, do you know arithmetic ?

      • 0
        0

        My Elders tell me those 67,000 acres are where the Army camps are based.

        It is is only 3.8 percent of the 100 % land mass, which was under Mr Prabakaran for three decades.

        Mr Sumanthiran should have explained it better?. Shouldn’t he?..

        May be he has plans to settle the 250 families there with the Diaspora dollars.

        And build a couple of Golf Courses too.

        So that Surendran and Rudrakumran can bring over their Western buddies and entertain them in grand style with a few rounds of 18 holes in totally Vellala Golf Courses,.with magnificent beaches and water features.

  • 4
    2

    Mr.Sumnthiran:

    You can shout out loud in Sinhala Lanka and that is going to fall on deaf years. MR is oblivious to your screams as he has his mind set on Complete Colonisation and he is no fool. MR shows callous disregard for the Constitution and this was evident from the way in which Dr.Shirani was impeached.
    What he needs above all is time to put enough Sinhalese settlements and he hopes that the process becomes irreversible and he is trying to use the same tactics as Israel.
    Once he has put enough Sinhalese then he will justify the Army presence as a necessity to protect them from LTTE. That is why he has increased the arrests of people he labels as LTTE members but the World is no longer prepared to believe him. He will even mount attacks on some settlements to further his course and he will be prepared to sacrifice his own people to achieve what he wants.
    Why do you think he is reluctant to devolve power especially Land & Police Powers because that will interfere with his Grand Plan.
    Our destiny lies with the International Community all our effort is beginning to bear fruit.
    Even India is contemplating lifting the Ban on LTTE and that doesn’t augur well for MR. India has finally woken up to the fact the there could be Chinese Missiles stationed in Jaffna threating the Indian Military installations in the South and that is why Gotha was summoned to Delhi and given a stern warning. Gotha relayed the message to China and sensing danger China assured India that they have no plan to threaten Indias security.
    I am confident after The UNHCR report in January MR will be forced to eat the Humble Pie and all his Grand plan of Greater Sinhala Lanka will go up in flames. He will be forced to devolve power and merge North & East and the Tamil Nation will live on for another 1000 years.

  • 2
    0

    It is a disgrace that people like Azwer are given national list places to be in parliament. I don’t know what purpose this man serves by being there other than being a spoiler of decent debate by the opposition.

  • 0
    0

    MRs grand plan is at the space land is being grabed and Sinhala settlements created, the Tamil owners will not voluntairly get back to
    their old places due to changes in the surroundings – with no Tamil
    schools etc, etc. No amount of speech-making in Parliament is going to
    resolve this dilemma. It looks like the Tamils are permanently engulfed for ever!!

  • 0
    0

    Kalli,

    ” I am confident after The UNHCR report in January MR will be forced to eat the Humble Pie and all his Grand plan of Greater Sinhala Lanka will go up in flames. He will be forced to devolve power and merge North & East and the Tamil Nation will live on for another 1000 years.”

    Merge North -East… At this rate you will be left only with Jaffna Peninsula

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.