§ MR. SCHWANN (Manchester, N.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to the Waste Land Ordinance of Ceylon (No. 1 of 1897), and whether it is true that the High Court of Ceylon had held and stated that the said Ordinance was against the fundamental principles of justice; whether, notwithstanding certain decisions of the High Court of Ceylon, rendering proceedings under the said Ordinance invalid, the Government of Ceylon are enforcing its claims independently of the Courts by armed police, and what steps he proposes to take in the matter; and whether he is aware that the Government of Ceylon have passed an amended Ordinance Act, which has been, or shortly will be, submitted to the Home 30 Government, which is still more stringent and harsh to the claimants of land (ancestral, gardens, and uncultivated) than the Ordinance of 1897?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES
The Waste Lands Ordinance, No. 1 of 1897, has been under my most careful consideration. I have not seen any judgment of the Supreme Court of Ceylon to the effect referred to in the first paragraph. Allegations have been made to the effect of the second paragraph of the honourable Member's Question. I am awaiting a Report from the Governor. An Ordinance has been introduced amending the Ordinance of 1897, but I do not consider that it answers to the description conveyed by the third paragraph of the Question.