Centre for Policy Alternatives on 2 October, 2011

M.A Sumanthiran Vs. R.P.R Rajapaksha and others (Land Circular Petition)

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 (SC FR 494/2011 and Writ 620/2011)

In October 2011 the Court of Appeal heard the petition filed by Member of Parliament of the Tamil National Alliance Mr. M.A. Sumanthiran, Attorney-at-Law, seeking an interim order restraining the Land Commissioner General and other respondents from implementing the Land Circular No. 2011/04. This Circular deals with land in the Northern and Eastern provinces in Sri Lanka.  The Court of Appeal issued a stay order on the operation of the Public Notice requiring people from the North and East to register lands by 20th November 2011. The Attorney General’s Department informed court that the State is reconsidering the Land Circular and that a committee maybe appointed for this purpose. The Circular was withdrawn by the government in January 2012 as a result of the case. This matter is to be taken up in the Court of Appeal in July 2012.

A Fundamental Rights petition was filed on the same matter in the Supreme Court and is to be taken up in 31st July 2012. Proceedings are continuing. The writ application (620/2011) challenging the Land Circular issued in 2011 was withdrawn on 12th July 2012 with the proviso that a fresh application on the same matter could be filed in the future. The present case is terminated on these grounds.

CPA organized a workshop in Jaffna in October 2011 on land issues in the North and East including implications with the said land circular and was organized in coordination with the University of Jaffna and the Bar Association in Jaffna. CPA also conducted other forms of advocacy on the issues.