The Bill will remove from the Magistrates and
the Department of Probation and Child Care Services, all the
decision making powers in relation to the children who have lost
their parents, the petition, filed by Hasanthi Ratnayake, had
explained adding that a provincial body titled, ‘Foster Care
Evolution Panel’ will be vested with the aforesaid powers.
"The panel will consist of seven persons, three
of whom will be from the National Child Protection Authority,
which will deploy field officers, to reach the affected areas.
The authority does not have the powers and capability to deploy
experts to deal with children. This provision of the Bill it
detrimental to the interests of the children. It denies the
children equal protection under the law and violates Article
12(1) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka.
Under the normal law of this country, children
are persons under fourteen years of age and young persons are
ones between the ages of fourteen to sixteen years of age. In
the proposed laws, children are persons under eighteen years of
age, while young persons are those between eighteen to twenty
two years of age. This phenomenon would cause confusion when
issues pertaining to children are brought before the Courts.
This provision is arbitrary and violates Article 12 (1) of the
Constitution. The bill needs a special majority in Parliament or
a referendum before the people, to be enacted the petition said.
Subsequent to the tsunami disaster of December
26, 2004, the Department of Probation and Child Care Services,
with the assistance of provincial commissioners, have taken over
the custody of 5300 tsunami affected children, who are either
orphaned or have lost one of the parents", the petition said.