Perera v. Banneheke
1972 Present: H. N. G. Fernando, C.J., and VT^ayatDabe, J.
S. L. PERERA, Petitioner, and B. M. D. B. BANNEHEKE (Chairman,Conciliation Board of Bingiriya), Respondent
8. C. 686/71—Application for a Mandate in the nature of a Writ of
Conciliation Boards Act—Sections 6 and 14—Wrong decision by Board that it had nojurisdiction to hear a dispute—Writ of mandamus—Availability.
Where, in a dispute concerning the “ undo” cultivation of a paddy land, theChairman of a Conciliation Board wrongly issued a certificate that it was notpossible to settle the dispute peacefully because the Board had no jurisdictionto inquire into disputes concerning “ ande ” cultivators—
Held, that the Chairman could be compelled by mandamus to take properproceedings under sections 6 and 14 of the Conciliation Boards Act.
APPLICATION for a writ of mandamus.
Nimal Senanayake, with Miss A.P. Abeyratne and Melvin Silva, forthe petitioner.
Sunil de Silva, Crown Counsel, for the respondent.
H. N. G. FERNANDO, C.J.—Perera v. Banneheke
January 19, 1972. H. N. G. Fernando, C.J.—
In this case the present petitioner had made certain complaints to theConciliation Board regarding an alleged trespass committed in respect ofa land, including a large extent of paddy, of which the petitioner claimedto be the owner. After an inquiry into one of these complaints theChairman of the Conciliation Board informed the petitioner that theinquiry into the dispute had been stopped by the Board because “ thePermanent Secretary to the Ministry of Justice had given instructionsthat the Conciliation Boards have no right to inquire into the ejection ofande Cultivators ”. Thereafter the Chairman of the Board issueda certificateto the petitioner stating that the committee had no power to inquire intothe complaint because it related to a dispute with an ande cultivator, andthat it was not possible to settle the dispute peacefully.
The petitioner appears to have been advised perhaps rightly that thiscertificate would not satisfy the terms of Section 14 of the ConciliationBoards Act, because that Section contemplates a certificate which iB issuedafter a proper attempt to settle a dispute. That being so, an applicationwas made to this Court for a mandamus and when the application wasfirst taken up counsel stated that the mandamus is sought to compel theChairman of the Conciliation Board to take proper proceedings underSection 6 of the Conciliation Boards Act.
Learned Crown Counsel appearing on behalf of the Chairman Btatesthat for the purposes of this case he is not taking up the position that theConciliation Board has no power to inquire into a dispute concerning theande cultivation of paddy fields and to issue a certificate under Section 14of the Act in relation to such a dispute. I may myself in passing observethat even though the true position may be that a District Court had nojurisdiction to inquire into a dispute concerning right to cultivate a paddyfield, the question whether or not the Court does have jurisdiction appearsto me to be one which should properly be decided by the Court itself;and that a Conciliation Board has no rfght to prevent a District Courtfrom deciding Buch a question by declining to hold inquiries or issuecertificates under the Conciliation Boards Act.
In terms of the amended prayer in the petition, a mandamus will issuedirecting the Conciliation Board to inquire into all the complaintsconcerning this land which have hitherto been made by the petitioner,and if the disputes cannot be settled to issue a certificate or certificatesin terms of Section 14 of the Act. It is obvious that the institution of thepetitioner’s proposed action has been much delayed by an attitude of theConciliation Board which for present purposes has been conceded to bewrong. That being so, the Board will no doubt realise its duty to dealwith this matter in preference to all matters which arose after thecomplaints made by the petitioner.
Wuayatilake, J.—I agree.
E. S. L. PERERA, Petitioner, and B. M. D. B. BANNEHKE (Chairman, Conciliation Bo