LAND ACQUISITION act

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

PART I

PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION AND DECLARATION OF INTENDED ACQUISITION

2. Investigations for selecting land for public purpose.

3. Compensation for damage done during investigations carried out on any land.

4. Notice of and objections to intended acquisition.

4A. Special provision to nullify disposal of and to prevent damage to land in respect of which a notice has been issued or exhibited under section 2 or section 4.

5. Declaration that a land or servitude is required for a public purpose.

6. Survey and plan of land.

7. Notice to persons interested.

8. Power to require and enforce the making of statements as to persons interested.

PART II

INQUIRY INTO CLAIMS, REFERENCE TO Court, AND Acquiring OfficeR'S AWARD

9. Inquiry into claims for compensation.

10. Reference of claims and Court disputes for determination.

11. Form of reference to Court.

12. Proceedings in Court on reference.

13. Costs of proceedings in Court on reference.

14. Appeal against decision of Court.

15. Non-appearance of persons interested in land.

16. Claims made out of time.

17. Award of Acquiring Officer.

18. Acquiring Officer may supply failures or omissions in the course of acquisition proceedings.

PART III

APPEALS TO THE BOARD OF REVIEW AND APPEALS TO THE Court OF APPEAL ON QUESTIONS OF LAW

19. Constitution of the Board of review.

20. Remuneration of members.

21. Meetings of the Board.

22. Right of appeal to the Board.

23. Time-limit for appeals to the Board.

23A. Appellant to furnish lists of witnesses and documents.

24. Proceedings before the Board.

25. Decision of the Board.

26. Costs of proceedings before the Board.

27. Finality of decision of the Board.

28. Appeal on question of law to the Court of Appeal.

PART IV

PAYMENT

29. Tender and payment of compensation.

30. Deduction of costs from amount of compensation.

31. Compensation for land subject to a mortgage.

32. Payment of compensation due to a minor or a person of unsound mind.

33. Compensation which cannot be paid to person to whom it is payable or who may be entitled thereto.

34. Renunciation of right to compensation.

35. Interest on compensation.

36. Exchange.

37. Finality as to payment of compensation.

PART V

POSSESSION AND DISPOSAL

38. Order for taking possession of a land or subjecting a land to servitude.

38A. Immediate possession of certain lands acquired for the purposes of local authorities.

39. Revocation of vesting orders.

39A. Divesting of lands where actual possession has been taken.

40. Effect of Order under section 38.

40A Order under section 38 to be conclusive evidence of certain facts.

41. Provisions for application of act where order under proviso to section 38 is made.

42. Possession.

43. Access to un-acquired portion of land.

44. Vesting of land in local authority or other body.

PART VI

ASSESSMENT OF COMPENSATION

45. Market value.

46. Assessment of compensation.

46A. Improvements made by State to be ignored in determining compensation for acquisition of land.

47. Deduction.

48. Matters to be ignored.

PART VII

GENERAL

49. Compulsory acquisitions authorised by any other written law.

49A. Acquisition of land for the purposes of a public Corporation.

50. Abandonment of acquisition proceedings.

51. Order, direction or declaration of Minister.

51A. Certain actions under this Act before any Court to be given priority.

52. Notices.

53. Informality or irregularity.

54. Limitation of Doctrine of res adjudicates.

55. Powers of Chief Valuer and his agents.

56. Registered valuers.

57. Rights of persons lawfully entitled to land acquired under this Act.

58. Wanton damage to land during investigation.

59. Omission to give information or giving false information.

60. Non-compliance with summons.

61. False evidence.

62. Temple Lands Compensation Ordinance not to be affected by this Act.

63. Regulations.

64. Certain matters pending under Land Acquisition Ordinance, 1876, to be referred to Board of Review.

65. Interpretation.

9 of 1950,

39 of 1954,

22 of 1955,

28 of 1964,

20 of 1969,

48 of 1971,

8 of 1979,

12 of 1983,

13 of 1986.

AN ACT to make provision for the Acquisition of Lands and servitudes for public purposes and to provide for matters connected with or incidental to such provision.

[Date of Commencement: 9th March, 1950]

1. Short title

This Act may be cited as the Land Acquisition Act.

PART I

PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION AND DECLARATION OF INTENDED ACQUISITION

2. Investigations for selecting land for public purpose.

(1) Where the Minister decides that land in any area is needed for any public purpose, he may direct the Acquiring Officer of the district in which that area lies to cause a notice in accordance with subsection (2) to be exhibited in some conspicuous places in that area.

(2) The notice referred to in subsection (1) shall be in the Sinhala, Tamil and English languages and shall state that land in the area specified in the notice is required for a public purpose and that all or any of the acts authorised by subsection (3) may be done on any land in that area in order to investigate the suitability of that land for that public purpose.

(3) After a notice under subsection (2) is exhibited for the first time in any area, any officer authorised by the Acquiring Officer who has caused the exhibition of that notice, or any officer acting under the written direction of the officer authorised as aforesaid, may enter any land in that area, together with such persons, implements, materials, vehicles and animals as may be necessary, and—

(a) survey and take levels of that land;

(b) dig or bore into the subsoil of that land;

(c) set out the boundaries of that land and the intended line of any work proposed to be done on that land;

(d) mark such levels, boundaries and line by placing marks and cutting trenches;

(e) where otherwise the survey of that land cannot be completed and such levels taken and such boundaries and line marked, cut down and clear away any part of any standing crop, fence or jungle on that land; and

(f) do all other acts necessary to ascertain whether that land is suitable for the public purpose for which land in that area is required:

Provided that no officer, in the exercise of the powers conferred on him by the preceding provisions of this subsection, shall enter any occupied building or any enclosed Court or garden attached thereto unless he has given the occupier of that building at least seven days' written notice of his intention to do so.

3. Compensation for damage done during investigations carried out on any land.

(1) Where any officer empowered by subsection (3) of section 2 to enter any land causes any damage to that land or to anything thereon by doing on that land any of the acts which he may do under that subsection, he shall assess the amount of compensation for that damage and shall, if that land is owned by more than one person, determine the apportionment of that amount among the owners of that land. Such officer shall give the owner or owners of that land written notice of the amount of compensation assessed by him and of any such apportionment of that amount as may have been determined by him.

(2) If any person who is entitled to receive the whole or a portion of the amount of compensation assessed in respect of any land under subsection (1) and specified in a notice under that subsection, is dissatisfied with such amount or with the apportionment of such amount, he may, within fourteen days reckoned—

(a) where such notice is sent through the post, from the date on which such notice is received at the place to which it is so sent, or

(b) where such notice is exhibited on or near that land, from the date on which such notice is so exhibited for the first time,

make a written appeal to the Acquiring Officer of the district in which that land is situated against the assessment or apportionment of compensation referred to in such notice.

(3) Where an Acquiring Officer allows an appeal made to him under subsection (2), he shall make a fresh assessment and apportionment of compensation or shall confirm the amount of compensation assessed under subsection (1) and make a fresh apportionment of that amount. The decision of such Acquiring Officer on such appeal shall be final.

(4) The officer who issues a notice under subsection (1) shall—

(a) where no appeal against the assessment or apportionment of compensation referred to in such notice is made under subsection (2) within the time allowed therefor by that subsection or where such an appeal is so made and the Acquiring Officer to whom the appeal is made disallows the appeal, tender to each person who is entitled to compensation according to such notice the amount of compensation allowed to him by such notice, or

(b) where such an appeal is so made and such Acquiring Officer allows the appeal, tender to each person who is entitled to compensation according to the decision on such appeal the amount of compensation allowed to him by such decision,

and shall pay the tendered amount to such person if he consents to receive it.

(5) Where the person to whom any sum is payable as compensation under this section is a minor or is of unsound mind or declines to accept that sum when it is tendered to him or is dead or cannot be found after diligent search, that sum shall be paid in accordance with the provisions of section 32 or section 33.

4. Notice of and objections to intended acquisition.

(1) Where the Minister considers that a particular land is suitable for a public purpose, or that a particular servitude over a particular land should be acquired for a public purpose, he shall direct the Acquiring Officer of the district in which that land is situated to cause a notice in accordance with subsection (3) to be given to the owner or owners of that land and to be exhibited in some conspicuous places on or near that land:

Provided however that it shall not be necessary to give a notice under the preceding provisions of this subsection to the owner or any owner of land whose name and address cannot be found or ascertained.

(2) The Minister may issue a direction under the preceding provisions of this section notwithstanding that no notice has been exhibited as provided by section 2, and, where he issues such a direction to any Acquiring Officer, the provisions of subsection (3) of section 2 shall apply in regard to the land to which that direction relates in like manner as those provisions would have applied if that Acquiring Officer had caused a notice under section 2 to be exhibited in the area in which that land is situated.

(3) The notice referred to in subsection (1) shall—

(a) be in the Sinhala, Tamil and English languages;

(b) contain a description of the land or servitude which is intended to be acquired;

(c) state that the Government intends to acquire that land or servitude for a public purpose, and that written objections to the intended acquisition may be made to the Permanent Secretary to such Ministry as shall be specified in the notice (hereafter in this section referred to as the "appropriate Permanent Secretary”); and

[S 4(3)(c) am by s 2(1) of Act 28 of 1964.]

(d) specify a period within which such objections must be made, such period being not less than fourteen days from the date on which such notice is given.

(4) Where a notice relating to the intended acquisition of a land or of a servitude over a land is exhibited under subsection (1) and objections to such acquisition are made to the appropriate Permanent Secretary by any of the persons interested in the land within the time allowed therefor by the notice, the appropriate Permanent Secretary shall consider such objections or direct an officer to consider such objections on his behalf and to make recommendations to him. When such objections are considered every objector shall be given an opportunity of being heard in support thereof. After the consideration of the objections the appropriate Permanent Secretary shall make his recommendations on the objections to the Minister in charge of the Ministry specified in the notice (hereafter in this section referred to as the "appropriate Minister”), and such Minister shall, after considering such recommendations, make his own recommendations on the objections to the Minister.

[S 4(4) am by s 2(2) of Act 28 of 1964.]

(5) When the time allowed by a notice under this section for making objections to the intended acquisition of the land or servitude referred to in the notice has expired and, where any such objections have been made within such time, after the Minister has considered the appropriate Minister's recommendations on those objections, the Minister shall, subject to the provisions of subsection (6), decide whether that land or servitude should or should not be acquired under this Act.

[S 4(5) am by s 2(3) of Act 28 of 1964.]

(6) A decision shall not be taken under subsection (5) to acquire only a part of a building if the owner of the building desires that the whole of the building should be acquired under this Act, unless such part can be severed or demolished without serious detriment to, or seriously affecting the amenities of, the building.

For the purposes of this subsection, "building” includes land which, being necessary for the convenient use and occupation of the building would pass by a devise of the building.

4A. Special provision to nullify disposal of and to prevent damage to land in respect of which a notice has been issued or exhibited under section 2 or section 4.

(1) Where a notice has been issued or exhibited in respect of any land under section 2 or section 4, no owner of that land shall, during the period of twelve months after the date of the issue or exhibition of such notice—

(a) sell or otherwise dispose of that land; or

(b) do any act which, directly or indirectly, depreciates the value of that land as at the date of such issue or exhibition.

(2) Any sale or other disposal of land in contravention of the provisions of subsection (1)(a) of this section shall be null and void.

(3) Any person who contravenes the provisions of subsection (1)(b) of this section shall be guilty of an offence punishable with a fine not exceeding one thousand rupees.

[S 4A ins by s 3 of Act 28 of 1964.]

5. Declaration that a land or a servitude is required for a public purpose.

(1) Where the Minister decides under subsection (5) of section 4 that a particular land or servitude should be acquired under this Act, he shall make a written declaration that such land or servitude is needed for a public purpose and will be acquired under this Act, and shall direct the Acquiring Officer of the district in which the land which is to be acquired or over which the servitude is to be acquired is situated to cause such declaration in the Sinhala, Tamil and English languages to be published in the Gazette and exhibited in some conspicuous places on or near that land.

(2) A declaration made under subsection (1) in respect of any land or servitude shall be conclusive evidence that such land or servitude is needed for a public purpose.

(3) The publication of a declaration under subsection (1) in the Gazette shall be conclusive evidence of the fact that such declaration was duly made.

6. Survey and plan of land.

When a declaration under section 5 that a particular land is needed for a public purpose has been published in the Gazette, the Acquiring Officer of the district in which that land is situated may, if there is no plan of that land made by the Survey Department of the Government, or no such plan which is suitable for use for the purposes of proceedings under this Act, cause a survey and a plan of that land to be made by a surveyor of that department, or by a licensed surveyor acting under the directions of the Surveyor-General.

7. Notice to persons interested.

(1) The Acquiring Officer referred to in subsection (1) of section 5 shall cause a notice in accordance with subsection (2) of this section to be published in the Gazette in the Sinhala, Tamil and English languages and, where in his opinion the value of the land mentioned in the declaration made under that section exceeds five hundred rupees, in a Sinhala newspaper, a Tamil newspaper and an English newspaper circulating in Sri Lanka, and shall also cause that notice in those languages to be exhibited in some conspicuous places on or near that land.

(2) The notice referred to in subsection (1) shall—

(a) describe the land or servitude which is intended to be acquired;

(b) state that it is intended to acquire such land or servitude under this Act and that claims for compensation for the acquisition of such land or servitude may be made to the Acquiring Officer mentioned in the notice; and

(c) direct every person interested in the land which is to be acquired or over which the servitude is to be acquired to appear, personally or by agent duly authorised in writing, before such Acquiring Officer on a date and at a time and place specified in the notice (such date not being earlier than the twenty-first day after the date on which the notice is to be exhibited for the first time on or near the land), and, at least seven days before the date specified in the notice, to notify in writing under the hand of that person or any agent duly authorised as aforesaid to such Acquiring Officer the nature of his interests in the land, the particulars of his claim for compensation, the amount of compensation and the details of the computation of such amount:

Provided that the Acquiring Officer may, on good cause shown within two weeks after such notice is exhibited, extend, up to a period of twenty-eight days from the date specified in such notice, the time within which any person interested in such land is required to notify his claim for compensation to, and appear before, the Acquiring Officer.

(3) Notwithstanding anything in the preceding provisions of this section, any notice required by those provisions to be published in the newspapers may merely specify the land or servitude which is intended to be acquired and refer to any such Gazette as may be specified in the notice for full particulars relating to such acquisition.

(4) Where an Acquiring Officer who causes the publication of a notice under this section in respect of any land is satisfied that any person interested in that land is a minor or is of unsound mind and has no authorised agent to act on his behalf as provided in that notice, such officer may, either of his own motion or on application made by or on behalf of such person, authorise a fit and proper person to be such agent.

8. Power to require and enforce the making of statements as to persons interested.

An Acquiring Officer who causes the publication of a notice under section 7 in respect of any land may require any person interested in that land to make or deliver to him, on or before a date specified in the requisition (such date not being earlier than the fourteenth day after the date of the requisition), a statement setting out, so far as may be practicable, the name and address of every other person interested in that land or any part thereof, and the nature of the interest in that land, and any rents and profits received or receivable on account of that land for the three calendar years next preceding the date of the statement.

[S 8 am by s 4 of Act 28 of 1964.]

PART II

INQUIRY INTO CLAIMS, REFERENCE TO Court, AND Acquiring OfficeR'S AWARD

9. Inquiry into claims for compensation.

(1) Where a notice under section 7 in respect of any land is published, the Acquiring Officer of the district in which that land is situated shall, on the date on which and at the time and place at which persons interested in that land are directed by that notice or in accordance with the proviso to section 7(2)(c) to appear before him, hold an inquiry into—

(a) the market value of that land or of the servitude which is to be acquired over that land;

(b) such claims for compensation as may have been notified to him within the time allowed therefor by that notice or in accordance with the aforesaid proviso;

(c) the respective interests of the persons claiming compensation; and

(d) any other matter which needs investigation for the purpose of making an award under section 17.

(2) The Acquiring Officer conducting an inquiry under subsection (1) may adjourn the inquiry from time to time and may hold the inquiry at different places on different dates. On every occasion on which he adjourns such inquiry, he shall notify the date on which and the time and place at which the inquiry will be resumed to such claimants for compensation and such agents of claimants for compensation, as are present on that occasion.

(2A) Where any inquiry under subsection (1) which has been adjourned cannot be resumed on the date notified under subsection (2) to such of the claimants for compensation and their agents as were present on the occasion on which the inquiry was adjourned, the Acquiring Officer holding the inquiry may from time to time postpone the date of its resumption. Notice of the date to which the resumption of the inquiry is postponed and the time and place at which the inquiry will be resumed shall be sent by registered post to the aforesaid claimants and agents so as to reach them at least seven days before that date.

[S 9(2A) ins by s 5 of Act 28 of 1964.]

(3) The Acquiring Officer conducting an inquiry under subsection (1) may by a summons under his hand require—

(a) any person whose evidence is, in the judgment of such Acquiring Officer, likely to be material to the subject-matter of the inquiry, to attend and give evidence at the inquiry on such date and at such time and place as may be mentioned in the summons; and

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