13th Amendment: LAND – Demanding State or Private Land


Over 80% of land belongs to the State while some 14% land are privately owned land. There are some facts that need to be made clear.

State Land & State Land given to Provinces

Appendix 1 of the 13th Amendment includes provision for State Land. It clearly states that State land is vested in the Republic but it also allowed Provinces to administer the State land that had been vested to it by the President using Article 33(d).

No well-funded campaign claiming “land” has been confiscated by Sri Lanka’s security forces, can be simply handed over to the provinces WITHOUT confirming if this land that the Sri Lanka Security Forces held were State Land or Private Land.

NO ONE can claim entitlement to STATE LAND as it is land that belongs to the State & the Security Forces cannot be evicted out of this state land as they are using the land for security measures to protect the State.

Therefore, someone needs to legally challenge all STATE LAND that had been unfairly disposed post-2009. STATE LAND cannot be transferred as private land.

Private Land

These are where urban & rural citizens live & get passed on from deeds & are registered in the land registry. During the war, some of these private lands had been taken based on national security requirements & naturally they required to be returned.

  1. Where are these private lands?
  2. Who owns them?
  3. Do the owners have legal papers to prove ownership?

It is only those who can show ownership to a private land that is being used by the State, that can claim ownership & demand its return.

No leader or Govt should be coerced into forfeiting state land & transfer to private hands.

State Land has to remain vested in the State. State land is only released to people or businesses (this “lease” also needs to be revisited)

Private lands if occupied by the State, has to be returned to private ownership ONLY after private owners can legally present their case, that they owned the land which the State apparatus occupies.

When President Ranil says land occupied has to be given – he must be told that it is only private lands that are occupied by the State that should be given & NOT STATE LAND, as the constitution clearly says that STATE LAND IS VESTED IN THE STATE (REPUBLIC) and NOT THE PROVINCES.

Someone, please make this clear to the President. Any state land that has been erroneously given to private hands SHOULD BE RETURNED/TAKEN BACK. No Govt can give State Land to private parties unless it is for a venture beneficial to the State & only for a fixed period.


Shenali D Waduge

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