SL CoA | Minister may order to take immediate possession of land on ground of urgency; challenge to award of compensation rejected

Court of Appeal of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: A Division Bench of Yasantha Kodagoda and Arjuna Obeyesekere, JJ., dismissed an appeal which was filed after being dissatisfied with the decision of the Board.

The Petitioner owned one half of land in extent of 2.25P situated in Mahabuthgamuwa and that he had been carrying on a business of manufacturing rubber bushes, beadings and packing under the name of ‘Sarath Rubber Industries’ at the said premises. The petitioner also stated that proceedings in terms of the Land Acquisition Act to acquire the said land for the purpose of road expansion and development work had commenced in 2012 and that the Minister had made an Order to take over immediate possession of the said land, the petitioner did not have any objection to the said acquisition even though he had to relocate his business premises. The Petitioner had accordingly submitted a claim for compensation. The Petitioner stated that the Acquiring Officer had published his award but failed to take into consideration his loss of earnings from his business and consequently had filed an appeal with the Board of Review which is pending and the instant appeal had been filed in terms of Section 28 as legislature has provided a person dissatisfied with the decision of the Board of Review with a further right of appeal on a question of law. 

The Counsel for the Respondents, Avanti Weerakoon, submitted that the land of the Petitioner with several other lands, was required for the Ambathale Road widening Project, which was funded by the Organisation of Petrol Exporting Countries (OPEC) and further submitted that other lands were acquired and only petitioner’s land remained for the takeover and the project was due to be completed by December end thus it was required urgently.

The Court while dismissing the appeal held that the Respondent was entitled to take possession of the Petitioner’s land; any time after an Order is made in terms of proviso (a) of Section 38 and directed the respondents to compensate the petitioner within a period of eight weeks. [Wanniarachchi Kankanamge Sarath v. Road Development Authority, CA (Writ) Application No: 401 of 2019, decided on 13-01-2020]

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