Feb 04, Colombo: The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) says the Urban Development Authority (UDA) is acting in an illegal and arbitrary manner in evicting the residents of Wanathamulla.
The BASL has challenged the UDA Board of Directors for a public debate on the legality of their actions and acquisition in the Wanathamulla area.
BASL President, Upul Jayasuriya told the media that most of the residents possess valid deeds dating back to over 20 years and the UDA is acting beyond its jurisdiction.
Explaining the legal method of acquiring lands, Jayasuriya said that if the UDA considers the land in Wanathamulla to be state land that comes under its purview, it has to apply to the Magistrate's Court requesting that the said land be handed over, and act according to the decision of the Court.
He further noted that the UDA officials have not acted according to the law and has just asked the people in Wanathamulla to move out of their houses.
The residents in Wanathamulla have objected to the government's move and filed a Fundamental Rights (FR) petition at the Human Rights Commission against the demolition of their houses.
Wanathamulla is one of Colombo's largest shanty areas and the government has undertaken a project to remove the shanties from the capital city as a part of the Colombo metropolitan development program.