Report on petition filed in the court of appeal by young Muslim Lawyers regarding Dambulla Land

The Court of Appeal today issued notices on the UDA, the Minister of Lands and other officials with regard to the attempts to acquire lands at the Kandalama Junction in Dambulla. This particular acquisition made headlines last year when a mob led by the Chief Priest of the Dambulla Temple attacked the mosque which was located north of the Kandalama Junction.

The Petitioners whose lands are also located north of the Kandalama Junction and is part of the same acquisition process challenged the entire process as being illegal and unlawful. The Petitioners stated in their petition that although their lands were acquired on an urgent basis in 1984 no development work took place with regard to the purported ‘sacred area development’ project. In the meantime they received several assurances and promises that the lands will be vested back to them.

As a result of their representations the development plan has been amended to restrict the ‘sacred area development’ to the south of the Kandalama Junction and a decision was made to revoke the vesting order in respect of lands north of the Kandalama Junction.

However recently the UDA has attempted to forcibly dispossess land owners and has begun demolishing houses and buildings north of the Kandalama Junction. The Petitioners state that therefore the efforts to acquire these lands is a clear breach of the several promises and under takings and is illegal as the development plan has been amended.

The notices were issued by a bench comprising of Justice Sri Skandarajah President of the Court of Appeal and Justice Malini Guneratne. Hejaaz Hizbullah – Attorney-at-Law acted as Counsel for the Petitioners. The Respondents are required to make an appearance before the Court on September 05, 2013.

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