LAND SETTLEMENT ORDINANCE

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

2. Interpretation.

3. Appointment of Settlement Officer and Assistant Settlement Officers and powers of Government Agents to apply the Ordinance.

4. Settlement Officer may by notice call for claims Publication and form of notice.

5. Powers and duties of Settlement Officer claim is or is not made.

5A. Power of Settlement Officer to declare declaration or agreement null and void.

6. Offers by way thereof of compromise.

7. Agreements under section 5(4)(c) may be made at any time prior to publication of settlement order.

8. Settlement orders when published to be proof of title.

9. Registration of settlements.

10. Lands declared under section 5(4)(c) to be Communal Chena Reserves not to be otherwise used without the consent of the inhabitants of the village.

11. Establishment, Constitution of Board for considering and deciding applications under section 6(4).

12. Reference to District Judge or Judge of Primary Court.

13. Reference of two or more claims and limitation at hearing of reference to matters referred.

14. Notice to claimant to furnish statement of claim.

15. Procedure when no statement of claim furnished.

16. Parties may appear by Attorney-at-Law.

17. Proceedings on reference to be regulated by Civil Procedure Code.

18. Reference cases to have precedence.

19. Procedure when statement of claim furnished.

20. Procedure on hearing.

21. The District Judge may order a fresh survey.

22. Appeals.

23. Equation of decrees of court with settlements.

24. Claims before the District Judge within one year from publication of settlement order in respect of lands declared to be the property of the State.

25. Appointment of curator or manager for purposes of claim.

26. Award of compensation by the Minister.

27. Persons engaged in carrying out order of Settlement Officer to be public servants.

28. Settlement Officer and Board to have powers of commission under the Commissions of inquiry Act.

29. Verification of service of process.

30. Proceedings under the Ordinance not invalidated by change of Settlement Officers.

31. Protection of Settlement Officer.

32. Order in respect of proceedings under Waste Lands Ordinance pending at the date of commencement of this Ordinance to be made in Form No. 2 in First Schedule.

SCHEDULES

20 of 1931,

22 of 1932,

31 of 1933.

22 of 1955,

23 of 1996.

AN ORDINANCE to amend and consolidate the law relating to land settlement.

[Date of Commencement: 23rd October, 1931]

1. Short title.

This Ordinance may be cited as the Land Settlement Ordinance.

2. Interpretation.

In this Ordinance, unless the context otherwise requires—

"claim” means any claim made under this Ordinance and "claimant” means any person making a claim;

"interest”, in relation to any land, means an interest less than the full ownership of the land;

"land” means an allotment of land the boundaries of which have been delineated by survey, or any portion of any such allotment divided, or capable of being divided, from the remainder of such allotment, and includes the bed of any waterway or collection of water, whether such waterway or collection of water is natural or artificial;

"Ordinance” includes the Ordinance referred to and any enactment amending it and any rules, regulations or by-laws made under any of such Ordinances or enactments and for the time being in force;

"person” includes anybody of persons corporate or unincorporate, but does not include the State;

"Settlement Officer” includes an Assistant Settlement Officer and a Government Agent acting under section 3(2);

"share”, in relation to any land, means an undivided share of the land;

"the Board” means the Board established by section 11;

"unoccupied land” includes land occupied by, on behalf of, or under, the State.

3. Appointment of Settlement Officer and Assistant Settlement Officers and powers of Government Agents to apply the Ordinance.

(1) There may be appointed a Settlement Officer and such number of Assistant Settlement Officers as may be necessary.

(2) It shall be lawful for any Government Agent to apply the provisions of this Ordinance to any land, being of any of the descriptions set forth in section 4(1), situated within his administrative district, and for that purpose to exercise and perform the powers and duties conferred and imposed by this Ordinance upon the Settlement Officer.

(3) It shall be lawful for any Settlement Officer appointed under this Ordinance to continue or to complete any action or proceeding taken or commenced under Ordinance No. 1 of 18971 by a special Officer appointed under section 28 of that Ordinance or by the Government Agent of a province or by the Assistant Government Agent of a district, where any such proceeding or action was pending or incomplete on the 23rd day of October, 1931; and for such purpose and from that date a Settlement Officer is hereby authorised to perform, execute and exercise the functions, duties and powers assigned to, imposed upon or vested in, any such special Officer. Government Agent or Assistant Government Agent as the case may be.

4. Settlement Officer may by notice call for claims Publication and Form of notice.

(1) Whenever it appears to the Settlement Officer that any land is of any of the following descriptions—

(a) forest, waste, unoccupied, or uncultivated land, or chena or other land which can only be cultivated after intervals of several years; or

(b) cultivated or otherwise improved land which was, within the period of twenty-five years next preceding the date of the notice hereinafter in this subsection provided for, land of any of the descriptions specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection,

it shall be lawful for him to declare by a notice signed and dated by him and published as hereinafter provided (in this Ordinance referred to as a "settlement notice”) that, if no claim to such land or to any share of or interest in such land is made to him within a period of three months from a date to be specified in such notice the land to which or to any share of or interest in which no claim has been made as aforesaid will be declared under section 5(1) to be the property of the State and will be dealt with on account of the State:

Provided that the date specified in such notice shall not be earlier than the date of the first publication of such notice, and that two or more lands shall not be included in one notice if such lands are respectively situated in more villages than one.

(2) Every settlement notice shall be published in the Gazette in the Sinhala, Tamil and English languages, and copies thereof shall be posted within the village in which the land is situated and on or near the land to which the notice relates and shall also be affixed to the walls of the several kachcheris and of the several courts, including the Primary Courts, of the province within which the land is situated and in such other localities as may secure the greatest possible publicity therefor, and the notice shall also be advertised by beat of tom-tom on or near the land within six weeks from the date of the publication of the notice.

(3) Whenever the extent of the land or the aggregate extent of all the lands included in a settlement notice exceeds ten acres, a notification substantially in Form No. 4 in the First Schedule shall be published once at least in any two of the newspapers of Sri Lanka in the language in which each such newspaper is ordinarily published, provided that one of such newspapers shall be a newspaper published either in Sinhala or in Tamil.

(4) If the Settlement Officer has reason to think that any person has a claim to the land to which the settlement notice relates or to any share of or interest in the land, he shall, in addition to publishing the notice as hereinbefore prescribed, cause a copy thereof to be served upon such person or to be sent by post addressed to him at his last known place of abode.

(5) Every settlement notice shall be in all material respects in Form No. 1 in the First Schedule, and the Gazette in which such notice is published or an extract therefrom containing such notice and purporting to have been printed by the Government Printer or certified by some Officer of the State, on behalf of the State, to be correct shall, if produced in any court in Sri Lanka be received as prima facie evidence that the requirements of this Ordinance have been duly complied with in respect of such notice.

5. Powers and duties of Settlement Officer claim is or is not made.

(1) If no claim is made within a period of three months from the date specified in any settlement notice to any Officer when land specified therein or to any share of or interest in any such land, the Settlement Officer shall make a declaration in writing, which shall be deemed for the purposes of this Ordinance to be a settlement in favour of the State, that such land to which or to any share of or interest in which no claim has been made is the property of the State:

Provided that if at any time within the said period of three months it is brought to the knowledge of the Settlement Officer that any person has a claim to any such land or to any share of or interest in any such land and that such person is then absent from Sri Lanka and was so absent at the date of the first publication in the Gazette of the notice aforesaid, the Settlement Officer shall not make a declaration that such land is the property of the State until after the expiry of a further period of six months commencing from the day on which the said period of three months expired.

(2) If in pursuance of the settlement notice a claim is made to any land specified therein or to any share of or interest in any such land, either within the aforesaid period of three months or, in any case in which within the said period of three months it is brought to the knowledge of the Settlement Officer that some person who is absent from Sri Lanka has a claim to any such land or to any such share or interest, within the further period prescribed by the proviso to subsection (1), the Settlement Officer shall proceed to hold an inquiry into such claim and for that purpose may with such assistants as may be required enter upon any land to which the claim relates and make such inspection as may be necessary.

(3) For the purpose of the inquiry the Settlement Officer shall call upon every claimant, by summons in writing served upon him either personally or by being left at his last-known place of abode, to appear before the Settlement Officer upon a day and at a time and place within the administrative district in which the land is situated to be specified in such summons and to produce the evidence upon which such claimant relies in proof of his claim; and if after due service of the summons such claimant, upon the day and at the place and time specified as aforesaid or upon any subsequent day to which the inquiry or any proceeding under subsection (4) has been adjourned and at the place and time to which such inquiry or proceeding has been so adjourned or upon the day and at the place and time specified in any further summons duly served upon him as provided by this subsection, does not appear or does not produce such evidence, or if he withdraws his claim, then in any of such cases his claim shall be deemed to be null and void and the Settlement Officer may thereupon deal with the land to which the claim relates as though no such claim had been made:

Provided that if any claimant who has so failed to appear or to produce such evidence as aforesaid shall thereafter, and before the publication under section 8 of the order prescribed by subsection (5), appear before the Settlement Officer and satisfy the Settlement Officer that he had reasonable grounds for such failure to appear or to produce such evidence, the Settlement Officer shall proceed to consider his claim as though he had duly appeared or produced such evidence, and in such case it shall be lawful for the Settlement Officer for the purpose of dealing with such claim to declare any declaration made by him under subsections (1) or (4) or any agreement entered into by him under subsection (4) to be null and void;

Provided also that it shall be lawful for the Settlement Officer in his discretion to dispense with the personal appearance of any claimant and to permit such claimant to appear or produce evidence and to be represented by an Attorney-at-law or any duly authorised agent.

(4) If any claimant appears and produces such evidence as aforesaid, the Settlement Officer may, after considering such evidence and making any further inquiry that may appear proper, do any one or more of the following things—

(a) make a declaration in writing, which shall be deemed for the purposes of this Ordinance to be a settlement, that any land specified in the settlement notice is not claimed by the State; or

(b) make a declaration in writing, which shall be deemed for the purposes of this Ordinance to be a settlement, that some person unascertained is entitled to a particular share of or interest in any land specified in the settlement notice; or

(c) enter with the claimant, upon such terms and conditions as may appear fit to the Settlement Officer, into an agreement in writing signed by the Settlement Officer and by the claimant, providing for either or both of the following, namely, that the said claimant or any other person shall be declared by settlement order under subsection (5) to be entitled either wholly or in part, or that the said claimant shall withdraw his claim either wholly or in part, to any land or to any share of or interest in any land specified in the settlement notice, and make a settlement of such land or share or interest in pursuance of such agreement:

This section of the article is only available for our subscribers. Please click here to subscribe to a subscription plan to view this part of the article.


Recent Updates

OFFICE ON MISSING PERSONS (ESTABLISHMENT, ADMINISTRATION AND DISCHARGE OF FUNCTIONS) (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 9 OF 2017


FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES(AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 11 OF 2017


NATION BUILDING TAX (AMENDMENT)ACT, No. 13 OF 2017


SUGATHADASA NATIONAL SPORTS COMPLEX AUTHORITY (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 14 OF 2017


IMMIGRANTS AND EMIGRANTS (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 7 OF 2015


OFFICE ON MISSING PERSONS (ESTABLISHMENT, ADMINISTRATION AND DISCHARGE OF FUNCTIONS) (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 9 OF 2017


FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES(AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 11 OF 2017


NATION BUILDING TAX (AMENDMENT)ACT, No. 13 OF 2017


SUGATHADASA NATIONAL SPORTS COMPLEX AUTHORITY (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 14 OF 2017


IMMIGRANTS AND EMIGRANTS (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 7 OF 2015


OFFICE ON MISSING PERSONS (ESTABLISHMENT, ADMINISTRATION AND DISCHARGE OF FUNCTIONS) (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 9 OF 2017


FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES(AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 11 OF 2017


NATION BUILDING TAX (AMENDMENT)ACT, No. 13 OF 2017


SUGATHADASA NATIONAL SPORTS COMPLEX AUTHORITY (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 14 OF 2017


IMMIGRANTS AND EMIGRANTS (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 7 OF 2015


OFFICE ON MISSING PERSONS (ESTABLISHMENT, ADMINISTRATION AND DISCHARGE OF FUNCTIONS) (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 9 OF 2017


FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES(AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 11 OF 2017


NATION BUILDING TAX (AMENDMENT)ACT, No. 13 OF 2017


SUGATHADASA NATIONAL SPORTS COMPLEX AUTHORITY (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 14 OF 2017


IMMIGRANTS AND EMIGRANTS (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 7 OF 2015


OFFICE ON MISSING PERSONS (ESTABLISHMENT, ADMINISTRATION AND DISCHARGE OF FUNCTIONS) (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 9 OF 2017


FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES(AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 11 OF 2017


NATION BUILDING TAX (AMENDMENT)ACT, No. 13 OF 2017


SUGATHADASA NATIONAL SPORTS COMPLEX AUTHORITY (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 14 OF 2017


IMMIGRANTS AND EMIGRANTS (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 7 OF 2015


OFFICE ON MISSING PERSONS (ESTABLISHMENT, ADMINISTRATION AND DISCHARGE OF FUNCTIONS) (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 9 OF 2017


FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES(AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 11 OF 2017


NATION BUILDING TAX (AMENDMENT)ACT, No. 13 OF 2017


SUGATHADASA NATIONAL SPORTS COMPLEX AUTHORITY (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 14 OF 2017


IMMIGRANTS AND EMIGRANTS (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 7 OF 2015


OFFICE ON MISSING PERSONS (ESTABLISHMENT, ADMINISTRATION AND DISCHARGE OF FUNCTIONS) (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 9 OF 2017


FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES(AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 11 OF 2017


NATION BUILDING TAX (AMENDMENT)ACT, No. 13 OF 2017


SUGATHADASA NATIONAL SPORTS COMPLEX AUTHORITY (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 14 OF 2017


IMMIGRANTS AND EMIGRANTS (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 7 OF 2015


OFFICE ON MISSING PERSONS (ESTABLISHMENT, ADMINISTRATION AND DISCHARGE OF FUNCTIONS) (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 9 OF 2017


FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES(AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 11 OF 2017


NATION BUILDING TAX (AMENDMENT)ACT, No. 13 OF 2017


SUGATHADASA NATIONAL SPORTS COMPLEX AUTHORITY (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 14 OF 2017


IMMIGRANTS AND EMIGRANTS (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 7 OF 2015