May 30, Colombo: The Justice Ministry of Sri Lanka plans to present two new bills to parliament shortly after receiving Cabinet approval.
The bills are the Witness and Victim Protection Bill and the Prescription (Special Provisions) Bill. The Witness and Victim Protection Bill has reportedly been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
Cabinet in 2012 has approved the proposed Prescription (Special Provisions) Act that would allow persons displaced during the Sri Lanka's war to reclaim their property.
The Justice Minister's Legal Consultant M.H.M. Salmaan has told the media that the Prescription (Special Provisions) Bill would help clear land in the North and East that that have been abandoned for 20 to 30 years during the period of the war until 2009.
Under the current law, the Prescription Ordinance, only a person holding continuous "adverse possession" of real property for ten years without challenge is entitled to ownership of that property and due to displacement most people in the conflict-affected areas lost their rights to the land during the war.
The bill and when it becomes legislation will give back the lands and properties to those to whom it originally belonged to, overcoming the technicality which disallowed them the right to their property.