BUDDHIST TEMPORALITIES ORDINANCE

Arrangement of Sections

PART I

PRELIMINARY

1. Short title.

2. Interpretation.

3. Temples governed by the Ordinance.

4. Manager of temple property.

5. Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affair's powers.

6. Advisory Board.

PART II

TRUSTEES

7. Trustee for Dalada Maligawa Diyawadana Nilame.

8. Trustee for dewales Basnayake Nilame or other person.

9. Trustee for Atamasthana-Atamasthana Committee.

10. Trustee for other temples.

11. Appointment of trustees and provisional trustees.

12. Term of office of trustee.

13. All trustees to give security.

14. Qualification of trustee.

15. Suspension and dismissal of trustees.

16. Appointment of trustee on vacancy.

17. Provisional appointment of trustee during vacancy or suspension or temporary absence.

18. Trustee may sue and be sued, but shall not be personally liable in costs.

19. Neglect of duty by trustees.

PART III

PROPERTY

20. All temple property and all offerings to vest in trustee.

21. Commutation under the Service Tenures Ordinance to be paid to trustees or controlling Viharadhipati.

22. Trustee or controlling Viharadhipati to enforce contracts in favour of, and to recover moneys payable to, temple.

23. Pudgalika property acquired by Bhikkhu for.

24. Money to be deposited in bank.

25. Application of income by trustees.

26. Mortgage or alienation of immovable property invalid.

27. Transfer of Paravenipangu.

28. Recovery of property improperly alienated.

29. Power of trustee or controlling Viharadhipati to lease.

30. Assignment of leases.

31. Court may set aside leases in certain cases.

32. Recovery of possession of property from trustee who has vacated office, or Viharadhipati.

33. General powers of court.

34. Prescription not to apply.

PART IV

ACCOUNTS, AUDIT

35. Trustee to keep complete and detailed accounts of income and disbursements.

36. Account to be made up half-yearly and submitted.

37. Duty of Viharadhipati to furnish information to trustee and the Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs.

38. Audit of accounts.

39. If income not duly accounted for Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs to hold inquiry and if necessary cause the prosecution of trustees reasonably suspected of breach of trust.

PART V

MISCELLANEOUS

40. General qualification for existing powers under the Ordinance.

41. Register of Bhikkhus.

42. Offence of passing off as a Bhikkhu.

43. Power to make regulations.

44. Tenant, lessee, or servant of temple not qualified to vote at election of trustee.

SCHEDULE

19 of 1931,

9 of 1940,

14 of 1941,

32 of 1947,

34 of 1973.

22 of 1955,

11 of 1968,

22 of 1980,

18 of 1981,

42 of 1981,

3 of 1992,

34 of 2013.

AN ORDINANCE to amend and consolidate the law relating to Buddhist temporalities in Sri Lanka.

[Date of Commencement: 1st November, 1931]

PART I

Preliminary

1. Short title.

This Ordinance may be cited as the Buddhist Temporalities Ordinance.

2. Interpretation.

In this Ordinance, unless the context otherwise requires—

"Bhikkhu” means a Bhikkhu, whether Upasampcida or Samanera;

...

["Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs” rep by s 3(b) of Act 34 of 2013.]

"Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs1” means the person for the time being holding the office of the Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs and includes any Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner;

[Ins by s 3(a) of Act 34 of 2013.]

"Court” means the District Court having jurisdiction in the matter in question;

"Local Authority” means a Municipal Council constituted under the Municipal Councils Ordinance, an Urban Council constituted under the Urban Council Ordinance, or a Pradeshiya Sabha constituted under the Pradeshiya Sabha Act, No. 15 of 1987 and includes any authority created and established by or under any written law to excise, perform and discharge powers, duties and functions corresponding to, or similar to, the powers, duties, and functions exercised, performed and discharged by any such Council or Sabha;

[Ins by s 2(a) of Act 3 of 1992.]

"Maruvenapanguwa” means an allotment of land held by one or more tenants-at-will under a temple, and subject to the performance of service or rendering of dues to a temple;

"Paravenipanguwa” means an allotment of land held by one or more hereditary tenants subject to the performance of service or rendering of dues to a temple;

"Provincial Council” means a Provincial Council established by Article 154A of the Constitution;

[Ins by s 2(b) of Act 3 of 1992.]

"Public Trustee” in this Ordinance means the Public Trustee appointed under the provisions of the Public Trustee Ordinance and does not include his deputy or deputies;

.

[" Registrar-General” omitted by s 3(b) of Act 42 of 1981.]

"Temple” means vihare, dagoba, dewale, kovila, avasa, or any place of Buddhist worship, and includes the Dalada Maligawa, the Sripadasthana, and the Atamasthana of Anuradhapura;

"Trustee” means a trustee of a temple appointed under the provisions of this Ordinance, and includes the Diyawadana Nilame, a Basnayake Nilame, and the Atamasthana Committee;

"Viharadhipati” means the principal Bhikkhu of a temple other than a dewale or kovila, whether resident or not.

3. Temples governed by the Ordinance.

The provisions of this Ordinance shall apply to every temple in Sri Lanka:

Provided, however, that by an Order made by the Minister and published in the Gazette any temple other than the Dalada Maligawa, the Sripadasthana and the Atamasthana may be exempted by a general reference or otherwise from the operation of all or any of its provisions.

4. Manager of temple property.

(1) The management of the property belonging to every temple not exempted from the operation of this subsection shall be vested in a person or persons duly appointed trustee under the provisions of this Ordinance.

(2) The management of the property belonging to every temple exempted from the operation of the last preceding subsection but not exempted from the operation of the entire Ordinance shall be vested in the Viharadhipati of such temple, hereinafter referred to as the "controlling Viharadhipati”.

5. Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affair's powers.

Every trustee and every controlling Viharadhipati shall to the extent authorised by the provisions of this Ordinance be subject to the general supervision of the Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs who shall in the manner prescribed by regulations under this Ordinance be assisted in the exercise of such supervision by an advisory Board.

[S 5 am by s 2 of Act 34 of 2013.]

6. Advisory Board.

(1) The advisory Board referred to in section 5 shall consist of five members each appointed by the Minister to hold office for a period not exceeding five years, provided that two of such members shall be selected from persons who at the time of their appointment are Members of Parliament.

(2) The said Board may for the purposes of any meeting co-opt as members not more than two persons who shall for such meeting possess all the rights of persons duly appointed under subsection (1).

(3) The Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs shall be the chairman of the said Board and for the transaction of business its quorum shall be three.

(4) All matters on which the Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs is by regulations under this Ordinance required to consult the said Board shall be decided at a meeting by a majority of those present and voting:

Provided that when the Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs is unable to abide by such decision such matter shall within one month of such decision be reported by him to the Minister whose decision thereon shall be final.

PART II

Trustees

7. Trustee for Dalada Maligawa Diyawadana Nilame.

(1) The trustee for the Dalada Maligawa shall be the Diyawadana Nilame.

(2) Whenever a vacancy occurs in the office of the Diyawadana Nilame the Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs shall within three months of such occurrence summon to a meeting at Kandy—

(a) the Mahanayaka Theras of Malwatta Vihare and Asgiriya Vihare;

(b) the divisional Assistant Government Agents holding office within the Kandyan provinces;

(c) the Basnayake Nilames of all dewales situated within the Kandyan provinces; and

(d) the trustees of all temples within the Kandyan provinces of which the annual income during the three preceding years is estimated by the Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs at over one thousand rupees, to each of whom he shall send by registered post not less than one month before the date fixed for the said meeting a written notice thereof addressed to the last known place of abode of such person.

(3) —

(a) The Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs shall preside at such meeting and every person duly summoned and present thereat shall have a vote at every ballot to fill the said vacancy. Such ballot shall always be secret.

(b) If at such meeting the name of not more than one person is proposed and seconded for election to the vacant office the Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs shall declare such person appointed Diyawadana Nilame.

(c) If at such meeting the name of more than one person is proposed and seconded for election to the vacant office a ballot shall be held and the Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs shall declare the person (if any) who receives the highest number of votes at the ballot appointed Diyawadana Nilame. But if at such ballot no candidate receives a greater number of votes than each of the other candidates a second ballot shall be held confined to the candidates who have received the largest number of votes being equal and the Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs shall declare the person (if any) who receives the highest number of votes at such second ballot appointed Diyawadana Nilame. If even at such second ballot no candidate receives a greater number of votes than the number of votes received by each of the other candidates the Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs shall by lot determine which of the candidates receiving the highest number of votes at such second ballot shall be deemed to have headed the poll and shall thereafter declare him appointed the Diyawadana Nilame.

(d) Whenever the Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs declares any person appointed Diyawadana Nilame he shall further within one month of such declaration issue to such person a written recognition of such appointment.

8. Trustee for Dewales Basnayake Nilame or other person.

(1) The trustee for a Dewale for which it has been customary to appoint a Basnayake Nilame shall be the Basnayake Nilame thereof. The trustee for every other dewale shall be a person appointed by the Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs.

(2) Whenever a vacancy occurs in the office of a Basnayake Nilame the Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs shall within three months of such occurrence summon to a meeting at a place within the Administrative District in which such dewale is situated:

(a) —

(i) in the case of a dewale situated in the Kandyan provinces, the persons for the time being holding office in that district as divisional Assistant Government Agents; or

(ii) in the case of any other dewale, the persons for the time being holding office in that district as divisional Assistant Government Agents and Grama Seva Niladharis;

(b) the Basnayake Nilames of the Dewales in the administrative district in which the Dewale is situated and in the case of a Dewale in the Kandy administrative district also the Diyawadana Nilame; and

(c) the trustees not being Bhikkhus of all temples situated within the divisional Assistant Government Agent's division in which the dewale is situated, to each of whom he shall send by registered post not less than one month before the date fixed for the said meeting a written notice thereof addressed to the last known place of abode of such person.

(3) —

(a) The Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs shall preside at such meeting and every person duly summoned and present at such meeting shall have a vote at every ballot to fill the said vacancy. Such ballot shall always be secret.

(b) If at such meeting the name of not more than one person is proposed and seconded for election to the vacant office the Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs shall declare such person appointed Basnayake Nilame.

(c) If at such meeting the name of more than one person is proposed and seconded for election to the vacant office a ballot shall be held and the Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs shall declare the person (if any) who receives the highest number of votes at the ballot appointed BasnayakeNilame. But if at such ballot no candidate receives a greater number of votes than the number of votes received by each of the other candidates a second ballot shall be held confined to the candidates who have received the largest number of votes being equal and the Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs shall declare the person (if any) who receives the highest number of votes at such second ballot appointed BasnayakeNilame. If even at such second ballot no candidate receives a greater number of votes than the number of votes received by each of the other candidates the Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs shall by lot determine which of the candidates receiving the highest number of votes at such second ballot shall be deemed to have headed the poll and shall thereafter declare him appointed the BasnayakeNilame.

(d) Whenever the Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs declares any person appointed BasnayakeNilame he shall further within one month of such declaration issue to such person a written recognition of such appointment.

9. Trustee for Atamasthana Atamasthana committee.

(1) The trustee for the Atamasthana the shall be the Atamasthana Committee which shall consist of three persons each of whom shall possess the qualifications of a trustee and hold office on like terms. The said committee shall elect one of their number as Chairman, its quorum shall be two and in the case of an equal division of votes at a meeting the Chairman shall have a second or casting vote.

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