Legal Basis

Nov 20, 2011 (LBO) – A Sri Lankan activist who had petitioned courts to review an expropriation law says recent interpretations given by state spokesmen may mislead citizens whose property was seized. Sri Ameresekere, an accountant who has been involved in several public interest petitions said statements by Sri Lanka’s central bank and information minister had suggested that existing owners of seized assets could be re-offered management.

The statements tended to “allay fears and apprehensions of those affected, giving them hope, and pronouncing to the public, through the media, such to be the legal position,” he wrote.

In letters to Central Bank Nivard Cabraal and information minister Keheliya Rambukwelle, Amarasekera said if there were any such provisions in the law, they should be promptly made public.

“Having perused the Bill, I could not find any such provision/s affording such right to the present owners,” Amarasekera wrote.

“This being the case, your aforesaid pronouncement, is indeed misleading the public.”

The law was passed after getting Supreme Court approval as an ‘urgent bill’ which lawyers say is deeply flawed as it arrogates powers of the judiciary and execut