AN ORDINANCE TO DECLARE AND AMEND THE KANDYAN LAW IN CERTAIN RESPECTS.
39 of 1938
25 of 1944
[1st January , 1939 ]
Short title and application of Ordinance.
1.(1) This Ordinance may be cited as the Kandyan Law Declaration and Amendment Ordinance.
(2) This Ordinance shall apply to persons subject to the Kandyan law.
2. In this Ordinance, unless the context otherwise requires -
(a) " gift" means a voluntary transfer, assignment, grant, conveyance, settlement, or other dispositionintervivos
of immovable property, made otherwise than for consideration in money or money's worth
(b)" donor" means a person who has made a gift
(c)" donee " means a person in whose favour a gift has been made
(d) " the commencement of this Ordinance " means the 1st day of January, 1939.
I TRANSFER OF PROPERTY
Validity of deeds of disposition not to be affected by absence of clause of disinherison.
3.Any deed or instrument, executed after the commencement of this Ordinance, whereby any property, movable orimmovable,
is transferred, assigned, granted, conveyed, settled, or otherwise disposed of, shallbeoffullforceandeffect
according to the tenor of such deed or writing notwithstanding the absence therein of any clauseproviding,expressly
or otherwise, for the disinherison of the heirs of the person executing such deed or instrument.
Revocation of deeds of gift
4.(1) Subject to the provisions and exceptions hereinafter contained, a donor may, during his lifetime and withoutthe
consent of the donee or of any other person, cancel or revoke in whole or in part anygift,whethermadebeforeor
after the commencement of this Ordinance, and such gift and any instrument effecting the sameshallthereuponbecome
void and of no effect to the extent set forth in the instrument of cancellation or revocation:
Provided that the right, title, or interest of any person in any immovable property shall not, if such right, title, or
interest has accrued before the commencement of this Ordinance, be affected or prejudiced by reason of the cancellation
or revocation of the gift to any greater extent than it might have been if this Ordinance had not been enacted.
Method of revocation.
(2)No such cancellation or revocation of a gift effected after the commencement of this Ordinance shallbeof
force or avail in law unless it shall be effected by an instrument in writing declaring that such gift is cancelledor
revoked and signed and executed by the donor or by some person lawfullyauthorizedbyhiminaccordancewiththe
provisions of the Prevention of Frauds Ordinance or of the DeedsandDocuments(ExecutionbeforePublicOfficers)
Deeds of gift which cannot be revoked.
5.(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 4 (1), it shall not be lawful for a donor to cancel orrevokeanyof
the following gifts where any such gift is made after the commencement of this Ordinance :- Gift to a temple.
(a)any gift by virtue of which the property which is the subject of that gift shall vest in the trustee orthe
controlling viharadhipati for the time being of a temple under the provisionsofsection20oftheBuddhist
Temporalities Ordinance or in any bhikkhu with succession to his sacerdotal pupil or pupils or otherwise thanas
pudgalika for the benefit of himself and his heirs, executors, administrators or assigns
Gift in consideration of marriage.
(b)any gift in consideration of and expressed to be in consideration of a future marriage, whichmarriagehas
subsequently taken place
Gift effecting a charitable trust.
(c) any gift creating or effecting a charitable trust as defined by section 99 of the Trusts Ordinance
Gift where right to revoke is renounced.
(d) any gift, the right to cancel or revoke which shallhavebeenexpresslyrenouncedbythedonor,
either in the instrument effecting that gift or in any subsequent instrument, byadeclarationcontainingthe
words " I renounce the right to revoke " or words of substantially the same meaning or, if thelanguageofthe
instrument be not English, the equivalent of those words in the language of the instrument:
Provided that a declaration so made in any such subsequent instrument shall be of no force or effect unlesssuch
instrument bears stamps to the value of five rupees and is executed in accordancewiththeprovisionsofthe
Prevention of Frauds Ordinance or of the Deeds and Documents (Execution before Public Officers) Ordinance.
(2) Nothing in this section shall affect or be deemed toaffecttherevocabilityofanygiftmadebeforethe
commencement of this Ordinance.
Compensation for revocation.
6.(1) Upon the cancellation or revocation of any gift, the donor shall be liable to pay to thedoneecompensationin
such sum as shall represent the cost of any improvements to the property effected by thedonee,afterdeductingthe
rents and profits received by him, and the expenses incurred in the fulfillment of the conditions, if any, attachedto
the gift, provided that if the donee has made default in the fulfillment of any such conditions, no compensationshall
be payable to him in respect of the improvements or otherwise.
(2) Such compensation shall be payable to any donee otherwise entitled thereto whether or not he would be an heirat
law of the donor in the event of such donor dying intestate,
(3) In this section " donee " includes any person who has succeeded to the title of the donee under the gift.
Method of adoption.
7.(1) No adoption effected after the commencement of thisOrdinanceshallavailinlawtocreateanyrightor
liability unless it be evidenced by an instrument in writing with the consent of the person adoptedexpressedinthe
instrument and signed by both the adopter and the person adopted, in the presence of -
(a)a District Judge, or
(b)a licensed notary and two witnesses:
Provided that if the person adopted be a minor, such consent may be givenandsuchinstrumentsignedonhis
behalf by his parents or, if only one parent is alive, by that parentbut if there is no surviving parent orif
either of his parents cannot be found or is incapable of acting in this behalf by reason of unsoundness ofmind,
ill health, or other incapacity, the District Court having local Jurisdiction overtheplacewheretheminor
ordinarily resides may, upon petition made to such court by any person interested and after such inquiryasthe
court may deem necessary, appoint any person or persons to give such consent and to sign such instrument. For the
purposes of the Civil Procedure Code and of the Stamp Ordinance ortheStampDutyAct,No.43of1982an
application to the District Court under this section shall be deemed to be an action of the value of onehundred
(2) No stamp duty shall be payable or chargeable in respect of any instrumentofadoptionexecutedinaccordance
with the provisions of subsection (1) or of any application to a court made under that subsection.
Rights of person adopted.
8.(1) On the death of the adopter intestate, a person duly adopted, whether before or after thecommencementofthis
Ordinance, shall have such right of succession to his estate as if he were a legitimate child of the adopter,thatis
to say, if the adopter leave him surviving no child or descendant of a deceased child, then as an only child, or if the
adopter leave a child or children or a descendant of a deceased child, then to the same extent and in like manner asa
child, and if married in binna or in diga as the case may be, then as a child somarried butthepersonadopted
shall, by virtue of the adoption, have no right of succession to any person other than the adopter.
Adopter not to succeed.
(2)The adopter shall not, by virtue of the adoption, acquire any right to succeed to theestateoranypart
thereof of the person adopted on his death intestate.
Person adopted succeeds to own parents or relations.
(3) Notwithstanding the adoption, the person adopted shall continue to have such right of succession tohisorher
own parent or parents, or any other person, as he or she would have had if the adoption had not been effected.
Adoption not to be revoked.
(4)A duly effected adoption shall not be cancelled or revoked, and no cancellation or revocationshallaffect
any right or liability arising out of the adoption.
Binna and diga marriages.
9.(1) A marriage contracted after the commencement of this Ordinance in binna or in diga shall be anduntildissolved
shall continue to be, for all purposes of the law governing the succession to the estates of deceased persons, abinna
or a diga marriage, as the case may be, and shall have full effect as such and no change after any suchmarriagein
the residence of either party to that marriage and no conduct after any such marriage of either party to thatmarriage
or of any other person shall convert or be deemed to convert a binna marriage into a diga marriage or adigamarriage
into a binna marriage or cause or be deemed to cause a person married in diga. to have the rights ofsuccessionofa
person married in binna, or a person married in binna to have the rights of succession of a person married in diga.
(2) Where after the commencement of this Ordinance a woman leaves the house of her parents and goes out in digawith
a man, but does not contract with that man a marriage which is valid according to law, she shall not by reason onlyof
such departure or going out forfeit or lose or be deemed to have forfeited or to have lost any right ofsuccessionto
which she is or was otherwise entitled on the death of any person intestate.
IV INHERITANCE: IMMOVABLE PROPERTY
"Paraveni property '
10. (1) The expressions "paraveni property" or"ancestralproperty"or"inheritedproperty"andequivalent
expressions shall mean immovable property to which a deceased person was entitled -
(a)by succession to any other person who has died intestate, or
(b)under a deed of gift executed by a donor to whose estate or a share thereof thedeceasedwouldhavebeen
entitled to succeed if the donor had died intestate immediately prior to the execution of the deed, or
(c)under the last will of a testator to whose estate or a share thereof the deceased would havebeenentitled
to succeed had the testator died intestate:
Provided, however, that if the deceased shall not have left him surviving any child or descendant, property which
had been the acquired property of the person from whom itpassedtothedeceasedshallbedeemedacquired
property of the deceased.
Partition of paraveni property.
(2)Where the paraveni property of any person includes a share in any immovable property ofwhichthatperson
is a co-owner, any divided part of or interest in that property which may be assigned or allotted to that person by any
deed of partition executed, or by any decree forpartitionenteredbyacourt,afterthecommencementofthis
Ordinance, shall for all purposes be and be regarded as paraveni property of that person.
(3)Except as in this section provided, all property of adeceasedpersonshallbedeemedtobeacquired
" Paternal paraveni " "maternal paraveni ".
(4)The expressions "paternal paraveni" and " maternal paraveni " and similar orequivalentexpressionsshall
be deemed to mean paraveni property as herein before described derived from or through the father orfromorthrough
the mother, as the case may be.
11. (1) When a man shall die intestate after the commencement of this Ordinance leaving a spouse him surviving, then -
(a)the surviving spouse shall be entitled to an estate for lifeintheacquiredpropertyofthedeceased
intestate, and, if there be no acquired property, or if such property be insufficient for hermaintenance,then
to maintenance out of the paraveni property :
Provided that if the deceased intestate shall have left a child or descendant by a former marriage, the surviving
spouse's life estate shall extend to only one-half of the acquired property
Provided, further, that the surviving spouse shall out of her estate for life in the acquired propertybebound
to maintain the legitimate children of the deceased -
(i) if such children are minors and in need of maintenance and
(ii)if the deceased left no paraveni property orifsuchparavenipropertyisinsufficientforthe
maintenance of such children
Re-marriage of widow.
(b) if the surviving spouse shall contract a diga marriage, she shall cease to be entitled tomaintenance
out of the paraveni property of the deceased but shall not by reason of such re-marriageforfeitheraforesaid
life estate in the acquired property
Widow an ewessa cousin.
(c) should the surviving spouse be an ewessa cousin of thedeceasedintestate,sheshallnotthereby
become entitled to any share in the estate larger than that to which she would otherwise have become entitled
when widow succeed to paraveni
(d) in the event of the deceased leaving him surviving no other heir, the surviving spouse shallsucceeds
to all his property both paraveni and acquired.
(2) In this section " maintenance " when used with reference to any property, whetherparavenioracquired,means
maintenance out of the income of such property.
Daughter married in diga after father's death.
12. (1) The diga marriage of a daughter after the death of her father shall not affect or deprive herofanyshareof
his estate to which she shall have become entitled, upon his death, provided that if within a period of one yearafter
the date of such marriage the brothers and binna-married sisters of such daughter or any one or more ofthem,butif
more than one then jointly and not severally, shall tender to her the fairmarketvalueoftheimmovableproperty
constituting the aforesaid share or any part thereof, and shall call upon her to convey the same to him or her or them,
such daughter shall so convey and shall be compellable by action so to do.
(2) In this section " marriage" means a marriage contracted after the commencement of this Ordinance.
Issue of two marriages : per capita.
13. "When a man shall die intestate after the commencement of this Ordinance leaving him surviving issuebytwoormore
marriages, such issue and the descendants of any predeceased child or children shall inherit inter se inallrespects
as if there had been but one marriage and the estate of the deceased shall not descend per stripes to the issue of each
marriage according to the number of marriages.
Legitimate and illegitimate.
14For the purposes of succession to the estate of any person who shall dieintestateafterthecommencementofthis
Ordinance the term "legitimate" shall mean born of parents married according to law andtheterm,"illegitimate"
shall mean born of parents not married according to law :
Provided that a legal marriage between any parties shall have the effect of rendering legitimate any childrenwhomay
have been procreated between the same parties before the marriage, unless such children shall have beenprocreatedin
15. When a man shall die intestate after the commencement of this Ordinance leaving an illegitimate childorillegitimate
(a)such child or children shall have no right of inheritanceinrespectoftheparavenipropertyofthe
(b)such child or children shall, subject to the interests of the survivingspouse,ifany,beentitledto
succeed to the acquired property of the deceased intheeventoftherebeingnolegitimatechildorthe
descendant of a legitimate child of the deceased
(c)any such child shall, subject to the interests of the surviving spouse, if any, be entitledtosucceedto
the acquired property of the deceased equally with a legitimate child or the legitimate children, as the case may
(i) if the deceased intestate had registered himself as the father ofthatchildwhenregisteringthe
birth of that child or
(ii)if the deceased intestate had in his lifetime been adjudged by any competent court tobethefather
of that child.
Succession to person dying intestate leaving no surviving spouse or descendant.
16. If a person shall die intestate after the commencement of this Ordinance leaving him or her surviving parents,whether
married in binna or in diga, or a parent, but no child or descendant of a child and no surviving spouse, then -Father
(a)the parents in equal shares, or if one only be alive, thenthatoneshall,iftherebesurvivingany
brother or sister of the deceased or the descendant of a brother or sister, be entitled to a life estateinthe
acquired property of the deceased. The right of a sole surviving parent shall arise and continue whetherornot
the other parent shall have died before the deceased intestate
Brothers and sisters.
(b) on the death of the surviving parent, the acquiredpropertyshall,subjecttotheprovisionsof
section 17, devolve upon the brother or sister or brothers and sisters, or the descendant or descendantsofany
deceased brother or sister by representation
When no surviving brother or sister.
(c) if there be no brother or sister or descendant of a deceased brother or sister, the parentsinequal
shares, or the surviving parent as the case may be, shall become entitled to the property
Paternal paraveni and maternal paraveni.
(d) the father, or if the father be dead the next heir or heirs on the father's side,shallinheritthe
paternal paraveni, and the mother, or if the mother be dead the next heir or heirs on themother'sside,shall
inherit the maternal paraveni. The mother shall not inherit paternal paraveni unless there be survivingnoheir
on the father's side, and in like manner the father shall not inherit maternal paraveni unless there be surviving
no heir on the mother's side.
Brothers and sisters inter se always inherit as sons and, daughters.
17.In the devolution of the estate of any person who shall die intestate after the commencement of this Ordinance,
(a)whenever the estate or any part thereof shall devolve upon heirs other than a child or the descendantofa
child, and such heirs are in relation to one another brothersorsisters,orbrothersandsisters,orthe
descendants of any deceased brother or sister, such heirs shall inherit inter se thelikesharesandinlike
manner as they would have done had they been the children or descendants of the deceased intestate
The half-blood per capita.
(b) whenever the estate or any share thereof shall devolve upon heirs who in relation to oneanotherare
of the half-blood, such heirs inter se shall inherit per capita and the estate shallnotdescendtothemper
Succession to woman married in diga or married in binna on mother's property
18. (1) When a woman unmarried, or married in diga, or married in binna on her mother'sproperty,shalldieintestate
after the commencement of this Ordinance leaving children or the descendants of a child or children, the estate ofthe
deceased shall devolve in equal shares upon all such children, (the descendant or descendantsofanydeceasedchild
being entitled to his or their parent's share by representation) whether male or female,legitimateorillegitimate,
married or unmarried, and, if married, whether the marriage be in binna or in diga:
Provided that if the deceased was married in binna as aforesaid,anillegitimatechildorchildrenshallnotbe
entitled to succeed to the paraveni property of the deceased
Provided, further, that the descendant of a deceased child shall be entitled to that child'ssharebyrepresentation
whether or not he or she has been kept apart from the deceased intestate.
Woman married in binna on father's property.
(2)When a woman married in binna on her father's property shall die intestate after thecommencementofthis
Ordinance leaving children or the descendants of a child orchildren,suchchildorchildren,andhisortheir
descendant by representation, shall be entitled to succeed inter se in like manner and to the like shares as they would
have become entitled out of the estate of their father : Providedthatifthedeceasedwasmarriedinbinnaas
aforesaid an illegitimate child or children shall not be entitled to succeed to the paraveni property of the deceased.
Rights of diga widower on death of spouse intestate and issueless. [ 2, 25 of 1944]
19. On the death intestate of a woman married in diga, leaving a surviving spouse but no child or descendantofachild,
such surviving spouse shall not be entitled, and shall not be deemed to have been at any time entitled, to any partof
the immovable property of the deceased other than the part consisting of the acquired property towhichthedeceased
became entitled subsequent to and during the subsistence of such marriage in diga.
V INHERITANCE : MOVABLE PROPERTY
Heirlooms and movables appertaining to paraveni.
20. Heirlooms and live and dead stock appertaining to immovable property to which a person has become entitled asparaveni
property as defined by section 10 shall, on his dying intestate after the commencement of thisOrdinance,devolvein
like manner as immovable property and the following provisions of this Ordinance shall not apply thereto.
The widow's paraphernalia.
21. When a man shall die intestate after the commencement of thisOrdinanceleavingasurvivingspousesheshallbe
entitled to all wearing apparel, jewellery and ornaments used by her or provided for her use by her deceased husband.
The widow or widower.
22. When any person shall die intestate after the commencement of this Ordinance leaving a surviving spouse and a childor
children, or the descendant of any deceased child entitled to representhisorherparent,thesurvivingspouse,
whether the marriage was in binna or in diga, shall succeed in like manner and to alikeshareofallthemovable
property of the deceased whenever obtained, as if he or she had been a legitimate child of the deceased.
All children inherit equally.
23. Subject to the aforesaid right of the surviving spouse, if any, the movablepropertyofanypersonwhoshalldie
intestate after the commencement of this Ordinance shall devolve in equal shares upon all his or her surviving children
(the descendant or descendants of any deceased childbeingentitledtohisorherortheirparent'sshareby
representation) whether male or female, legitimate or illegitimate, married or unmarried, and, if married, whetherthe
marriage be in binna or in diga :
Provided that if the deceased was a male person an illegitimate child shall notsucceediftherebesurvivingany
legitimate child or the descendant of a legitimate child
Provided further that the issue of a legitimate child inter se shall succeed in like manner.
When there is no surviving child or descendant.
24. When any person shall die intestate after the commencement of this Ordinance leaving nochildordescendantofany
deceased child, the surviving spouse, if any, shall succeed to all the movable property of the deceased.
Assistance and support not to affect rights of succession.
25. A person who has rendered assistance and support or any other benefit to a person who has subsequently diedintestate,
shall not by reason of such assistance, support, or benefit, become entitled to succeed to any interest intheestate
of such deceased intestate to which he would not have become entitled had such assistance, support or benefit notbeen
Saving existing judgments, decrees, or orders.
26.Nothing in this Ordinance shall be deemed to affect or render invalid any existing judgment,decree,ororderofa
court of competent jurisdiction in respect of any property or the right, title or interest of any person in respectof
property the subject-matter of the action in which such judgment, decree, or order was given, passed, or made.
Ordinance not to have retrospective effect unless expressly so provided.
27. The provisions of this Ordinance shall not have, and shall not bedeemedorconstruedtohave,anyretrospective
effect except in such cases where express provision is made to the contrary.