20th August 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) supported a group of Petitioners from “34 Watta”, Wanathamulla, Borella to file a writ application [CA (Writ) 283/14] in the Court of Appeal against the Urban Development Authority (UDA) and other actors challenging the directive issued by the UDA ordering them to move from their homes to an alternative location provided by the UDA or accept the compensation proposed by the UDA.
The Petitioners who have title deeds to the lands dating back to 1979 assert that the UDA is acting outside the legal framework applicable when acquiring private lands provided in the Land Acquisition Act. Furthermore these attempts to forcibly evict the Petitioners are contrary to the undertaking by the UDA in March 2014 before the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) where they agreed that no person would be moved from their residence without their consent. The Petitioners further state that the UDA has severely undervalued their premises and the only proposal provided by the UDA at present as an alternative is a premises which is much smaller in size to their existing property with the Petitioners being required to pay a large sum of money for a period of 20 years.
As such the Petitioners have prayed for a Writ of Certiorari quashing the decision to forcefully evict them and for a Writ of Prohibition preventing the UDA or its agents or representatives from acting in any manner which would be prejudicial to and/ or interfere with the Petitioners’ peaceful and quiet possession of their property.
Download the petition here.