KAMPALA – Government has been dragged to the Constitutional Court over illegal cancellation of land titles.
In the court documents filed before court, a group of people calling themselves concerned citizens under their umbrella, “Citizens’ Concern Africa” have dragged the Attorney General who is the respondent in this case.
Court documents seen by PML Daily indicate that the organization is focused on improving social accountability and good governance, protection of the environment, as well as the observance of rights for all.
Through its lawyers of Joe. R. Karigyenda &co Advocates, the organization contends that it is aggrieved with the provisions of the law entitling the government to issue and cancel land titles as and when it pleases, without a Court order.
The Organization contends that section 91 of the Land Act, which empowers the Commissioner of Lands to notify the persons likely to be affected by the cancellation, to give reasons why their titles shouldn’t be cancelled, contravenes article 28 of constitution as it denies the victims a fair hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal.
They also aver that the same provision of the Land Act, contravenes rules of natural justice where Government through the said Commissioner of Lands becomes a judge in its own case, and the cancellation sees the respective land revert back to the Government.
“The government ,through its officials issues out land titles allegedly on reserved lands, or causes the transfer of the same to the unsuspecting purchasers ,then turn around and cancel the same on the ground that such titles were issued in error,” reads in part the court documents.
Adding: “As much as the Constitution allows the Government to hold resources and the lands harboring the same in trust for the people, in the same way the Commissioner of Lands ought to seek a Court order before cancellation of such titles.”
The organization contends that the act of indiscriminate cancellation of the titles in preserved areas is unfair, and uncalled for, with a likely effect of only costing the government hugely in settling consequent claims and court awards.