*Ignoring Appeal Court order
SC orders LRC to show cause why should not be charged with contempt


By Chitra Weerarathne

The Court of Appeal, on January 13, 2010, directed the Land Reforms Commission, its Chairman Nimal Punchihewa, Executive Director Hariguptha, Rohanadeera and members S. D. A. D. Boralessa, P. W. Senaratne, H. A. N. S. Kumara Ravi Hewapathirana, P. L. Dissanayake and Dr. Mrs. J. Soysa to show cause as to why they should not be punished for contempt of Court for failing to comply with a Court of Appeal order, dated August 28, 2008, issued in respect of a Writ application filed by petitioner Sunil Abhayawardene of Chitra Lane, Colombo 5.

All the accused respondents were released on personal bail of Rs. 25,000/- each.

The affidavits of the respondents are to be filed before February 28, 2011.

The application for show cause for failure to comply with the Court of Appeal order was filed by Sunil Abhayawardene in whose favour the Court of Appeal had issued a Writ of Mandamus which was to be complied by the LRC within three month form August 28/2008. The Land Reforms Commission had filed a leave to appeal application in the Supreme Court. This application had been discussed by the Supreme Court on June 22, 2009.

The petition had filed the original Writ application 1616/2006, in the Court of appeal to obtain a Writ of Mandamus to compel the Land Reforms Commission to take action to inform the petitioner, Abhayawardene, the valuation of the portion of the land known as "Paradise Estate" given to the petitioner to execute the deed. The petitioner also sought a mandatory order to handover the balance extent of nine and a half acres of land from this estate to the petitioner, to which he is lawfully entitled.

The petitioner further sought a mandatory order to compel the Land Reforms Commission to execute deeds of conveyance, in favour of the petitioner, in respect of the land possessed by the petitioner.

ON August 28, 2008, the Court of Appeal granted relief to the petitioner and ordered the Land Reforms Commission to comply with the order within a specified time. The petitioner, in his application of contempt of Court, complained that the LRC failed to comply with the Court order.

Gamini Marapana PC, appeared with Naveen Marapana for the petitioner. Dr. Sunil Cooray appeared for the Land Reforms Commission.

The Bench comprised Justice Sathya Hettige, (President Court of Appeal) and Justice Anil Gooneratne.

On January 13, 2011, all the respondents of the LRC were present in Court, in terms of a directive of the Court. The rule dated August 2, 2010 was read out to all the respondents, who pleaded not guilty to the charge of contempt of Court.

The counsel for the respondents informed the Court that all the respondents, who were present in Court, were directors of the LRC. The respondents were directed to show cause, as to why they should not be punished for the charge, by filing an affidavit. Counsel for the respondents did not object to this. All the accused were released on personnel bail in Rs. 25,000/- each. Affidavits of the respondents are to be filed on or before, February 28, 2011.

The case is to be mentioned again on February 28, 2011 and all the respondents were warned to be present in Court on the next date.

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