Relief for people who lost their lands during war– V. Sivananasothy

On the initiative of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, the Prescription (Special Provision) Bill which was shelved for a long period had been revived by the Government to provide relief to the people who were forced to abandon their properties due to the situation that prevailed in the country from May 1983 to May 2009 and to enable them to claim their titles for their properties due to prescriptive actions of the illegal and encroached occupants, Secretary Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs said yesterday.

"The Law has been enacted as Prescription (Special Provision) Act No. 5 of 2016.This Prescription (Special Provision) Act provides relief to the disadvantaged people who were affected by militant terrorist groups and were unable to pursue rights under the existed Prescription Ordinance in a court of law. According to the Prescription Ordinance, if a person is in undisturbed, uninterrupted adverse possession of an immovable property for more than ten years such person has the right to acquire prescriptive title to the immovable property. In several instances, under conflict situation, outsiders had encroached and illegally occupied properties and now attempting to claim prescriptive title to the immovable property and lands. Such prescriptive actions have affected the people in the conflict affected areas specially as they were forced to abandoned their properties and specially those who fall under the category of IDPs and refugees. Such persons who were formally residents of the Northern and Eastern Provinces of the country and these affected people will now be benefited by the Prescription (Special Provision) Act, as it enables them to claim the titles of their properties", he said.

Sivananasothy said that this special provision in the law was in operation only for a period of two years. "Therefore, the disadvantaged persons, largely those affected by conflict and were formally residence of the Northern and Eastern Provinces of the country who are affected due to illegal and encroached occupants should make best use of the provisions of this new act to claim title to the encroached and illegally occupied properties and lands lost during conflict period. It is time for them to file action in the court of law within the two-year period as this relief is only available for such short period.

This Prescription (Special Provision) Act 5 of 2016 is a very timely and appropriate relief to generally all those who were affected by militant terrorist group and in particular by those conflict affected families in the Northern and Eastern Provinces to reclaim the titles for their valuable immovable properties and land under prescriptive actions and help to resettle in their originally owned land after the three-decade old war."

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