Ordinance Nos,
14 of 1843
[8th November
, 1843
Short title.

1. This Ordinance may be cited as the Crown Debtors Ordinance.

Government Agent to seize property of debtor upon knowledge or notice of debt.

2. It shall be lawful for any Government Agent (or other person duly authorized by writing signed by such Government Agent) within his administrative district, and upon his own knowledge of the default of payment by any debtor to Her Majesty, or notice to him given of any debt having accrued due to Her Majesty, promptly and immediately to seize, take, and in safe custody to keep, but without removing the same (except in those cases. only where there are no adequate means for safely and securely keeping the said property at the place where it is seized, and no sufficient security given for the value thereof), all and every the property of any debtor or debtors to the Crown, to an amount computed to be sufficient to cover the said debt so, due and owing and the costs attending the same.

Notice, libel, or information to be filed in court.

3. Within seven days at farthest (exclusive of Sundays and other authorized public holidays) after such seizure as aforesaid, a libel or information setting forth the nature and amount of the debt so due to Her Majesty, shall be filed in any court having jurisdiction in the case, and every such court, upon any such libel or information being filed, together with the certificate if the property seized, signed by the person making the seizure, is hereby required to deliver to the Fiscal a warrant to sequester the property of the said debtor, and any further proceedings which may be had thereon shall be according to such general rules of practice as now are or hereafter may be framed by the Judges of the Supreme Court.

Property of public accountant liable for debt, &c.

4. All lands and tenements which any Treasurer,
Government Agent, Assistant Government Agent, Collector of Customs, Government farmer or renter, or other officer employed in the collection, charge, receipt, or expenditure of the revenue, public money, – stores, or other property belonging to Government, or any other public accountant, now hath or at any time hereafter shall have, within the time during which he shall respectively remain accountable to Government, shall be liable for the payment of all arrearages, or debts, and all fines, penalties, and forfeitures due or adjudged to Her Majesty, Her Heirs, and Successors, by or from such officer or public accountant, and the said lands and tenements, and all other the goods, chattels, property, and effects of the said officer or public accountant, shall be seized and sold in execution for the payment of all such arrearages or debts, fines, penalties, or forfeitures as may be adjudged due and payable to Her Majesty, Her Heirs, and Successors, by any competent court of law, in like and as large and beneficial a manner, to all intents and purposes, as if the said officer or public accountant had, the day he became first an officer or accountant as aforesaid, specially mortgaged the said lands and tenements to Her Majesty, Her Heirs, and Successors, for the full payment of such arrearages or debts, fines, penalties, and forfeitures, and had also at the same time, by a notarial bond, acknowledged the said arrearages or debts, fines, penalties, and forfeitures to be due to Her Majesty, Her Heirs, and Successors.

Crown debts on mortgage, &c, preferred to all subsequent debts.

5. All debts due to Her Majesty, Her Heirs, and Successors, upon mortgage, judgment, award, bond, or other specialty, or upon simple contract, from any other persons than officers and public accountants mentioned in the preceding clause, shall be entitled from the accruing thereof respectively to a preference of payment over all specialties or other debts which shall, subsequent to such date, have been contracted by or become due from such Crown debtors to any other person or persons whatsoever

Previous mortgage of immovable property not affected.

6. This Ordinance, or anything therein contained, shall not extend to or affect the right of any person or
persons or body corporate who has or have any special mortgage or hypothecation of any land or other immovable property of a prior date to the claim of the Crown, and duly executed before a notary public or other person appointed by Government for the passing or deeds or other instruments, or to affect the right of any person or persons or body corporate who has or have a legal lien, mortgage, or privilege which is entitled to preference over any such prior special mortgage or hypothecation as aforesaid of immovable property, according to the Roman-Dutch law as now administered in the Maritime districts of Ceylon, anything before mentioned to the contrary thereof notwithstanding.

Previous transfer of movable property not affected.

7. No sale, pledge, transfer, or alienation of any goods, chattels, or other movable property, upon good consideration and bona fide to any person or persons or body corporate, prior to the date of the execution of the Crown upon any judgment or award of any debt, fine, penalty, or forfeiture being due and payable to it, shall be invalidated by anything contained in this Ordinance to the contrary notwithstanding.

Fraudulent transfer, &c, void.

8. All gifts, grants, sales, transfers, mortgages, bonds, suits, judgments, and executions, as well of lands and tenements as of goods and chattels, of any debtors to Her Majesty, Her Heirs, or Successors, which have been or shall at any time hereafter be contrived, executed, had, or made by fraud, covin, collusion, or guile, to the end, purpose, and intent to delay, hinder, or defraud Her Majesty, Her Heirs, or Successors, of Her or Their just and lawful action, suit, debts, accounts, damages, penalties, or forfeitures, shall be from henceforth deemed and taken to be utterly void and of none effect; and any party or parties thereto, knowing of such fraud, covin, collusion, or guile, shall be guilty of an offence, and be liable on conviction thereof to a fine of the amount of one year’s value of such lands or tenements, and the whole value of the said goods or chattels, as well as the consideration given for the same, and to imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for any period not exceeding one year.

Chapter 96, Volume No. 4 Page No.53.