The government has introduced new legislation to establish Agrarian Tribunals by amending the Agrarian Development Act and thus hopes to resolve disputes in the agriculture sector in relation to tenant paddy cultivators, officials said today.
Agrarian Services Commissioner General Ravindra Hewavitarana said he would be given the authority to refer such cases to an Agrarian Tribunal once the new amendment was enacted in parliament shortly.
Mr. Hewavitarana said these new changes were necessitated because of the numerous disputes in the paddy cultivation areas involving tenant farmers.
When death or permanent disability occurs to a tenant cultivator of a certain paddy land, there is dispute as to who will get the right to cultivate it next.
In such an eventuality, the parties to the dispute can refer the case to the Commissioner General of Agrarian Services. The Commissioner General, in turn, will refer the case to an agrarian tribunal. The determination by the tribunal will be communicated to the parties concerned by registered post.
According to the bill, the right of a tenant farmer is devolved to his spouse or one of his children if death occurs to him. If there is more than one child, the child whose sole means of living is cultivation is preferred in this respect. When there is no one to inherit it, the owner of the land concerned can take possession of it for cultivation if he desires. (Kelum Bandara)