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DateLine Friday, 15 August 2008

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Introduction -

Connecting senior citizens

The leading Mobile Phone Company in Sri Lanka recently announced that Mobile Phone connections in the country will be soon reaching the 5 million mark.

This remarkable connectivity level in Sri Lanka is indicative of Sri Lankan penchant to be in touch with each other as a society which underpins the strengthening of the democratic process in the country. Connectivity develops a collective mind of a nation.

As no comprehensive and reliable data is available on the profile of mobile users, using visual and anecdotal evidence one has to conclude that the majority of mobile telephone users are young to middle aged persons leaving out a very important cohort of Sri Lanka Society i.e. the Senior Citizens'.

Following the enactment of Protection of Elders Rights Law No. 9 of 2000 and establishment of the National Council of Elders in 2002, a silent revolution is spreading through our society.

The National Council of Elders with the assistance of Provincial Authorities of Elders' protection has inspired nearly 10,000 village based Elders Committees to be formed. Today, Elders Committees or Senior Citizen Societies have developed into an islandwide movement transcending political, ethnic and religious differences devoted solely for the betterment of senior lives.

According to reports of the estimated 2.3 million senior citizens of Sri Lanka a sizable portion are active in Elders Committees doing simple projects to make their lives meaningful in the golden years.

Among the leading age related challenges for the elders in every society is the inescapable loneliness and depression. Unlike in feudal society where elders held the economic social leadership of the family and village, the modern economic and social changes have resulted in isolating elders as marginal appendages of the family activities.

Young people including family members and even other elderly friends find it difficult to spend time to talk to elders whom they discard as ashes of human society. Among the geriatric challenges facing elders' empowerment programs, prominent program is to provide connectivity support to elders to talk to others and remain mentally and socially active during the newly added years.

The communication industry has by and large ignored the 2.3 million strong market segments and continues to concentrate on the glamour of youth. On the other hand elders focused mobile connectivity programs will not only open the doors to elders market but would also be helping to alleviate the loneliness and depression of Sri Lankan senior citizens who laid the platform for the young generation to dance upon.

Questions &Answers

Securing unauthorised access to a computer - Is it an offence?

Question: I am a student following a Degree at the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT).

I am a first year student at this institute. I want to find out whether securing unauthorised access to a computer is an offence? I await your kind reply. - A student from the SLIIT, Malabe

Answer: Yes, Under the Computer Crime Act No. 24 of 2007, any person who intentionally does any act, in order to secure for himself/herself or for any other person, access to
(a) any computer, or
(b) any information held in any computer

Knowing or having reason to believe that he/she has no lawful authority to secure such access, shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand rupees, or to imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or both such fine and imprisonment.


Can I obtain my NIC in one day?

Question: I am 22 years old, I lost my Identity Card. I want to find out whether I could obtain my identity card in one day through the "One Day Service" Counter? I await your kind reply.

Answer: The Registration of Persons Department had a "One Day Service" counter earlier. But now they have limited the said service. Under the "One Day Service" they allow process new identity cards to persons who are under 20 years of age.

The Department does not issue new Identity Cards instead of the lost ones through the "One Day Service" counter. Those persons will have to apply for Identity Cards through the normal procedure.

To obtain Identity Card from the "One Day Service" Counter the applicant himself/herself must come. If you need further details please contact the Registration of Persons Department, C45, Keppitpola Road, Colombo 5. Tel. No. 011 2508022, O11 2583199, 01125888043.


Land Acquisition Act

Question: I am a retired Principal living in the Southern Province. I received a notice under Section 2 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act that a portion of my land is to be acquired for a public purpose.

I learnt that the Minister has issued an Order to take immediate possession. I fear that this is motivated by political animosity. Is there and action I can take? - Sent by e-mail

Answer: Under the Land Acquisition Act it is possible to acquire a private land for the purpose specified therein following the prescribed procedure.

The proviso to Section 38 empowers the Minister to take immediate possession if there any urgency. It is required to mention the public purpose for which the land is sought to be acquired.

If no public purpose is mentioned, then it is possible to challenge by way of a writ application.

However, if the public purpose is disclosed and as the Section 38 has been made, it is not possible to challenge this decision.

In any event if you are not properly paid compensation after due inquiry, or if the officials are delaying the payment, you can file an action in the Provincial High Court for a writ or mandamus to get the compensation.


Commission in partition cases

Question: There are commissions issued by the Civil Courts in land cases. Could you please explain the purpose of this issuing commissions with particular reference to commission issued with regard to surveys.

Answer: In land and partition actions, plans and reports of surveyors do a very significant role in proving and disproving fact in issues.

In a partition case, it is imperative to have a preliminary plan and report prepared before the hearing. The basic need of a preliminary survey is to identify the corpus of the action.

But when a party seeks to survey a larger land or exclusion of land or dispute the identity of the corpus it is very important to obtain commissions on surveyors to identify and superimpose such land before proceeding to the trail, as a court would be always be hesitant to issue a commissions once the trial is commenced, although it has power to do so even at the conclusion of the trail.

It has been a common ground observed in partition and land actions by Appellate Courts, that practitioners without due regard to the importance of such surveys, without such evidence being produced attempts have been unsuccessfully made to secure orders or judgements in their favour.

In partition law, Sections 16 to 19 deal with such surveys while the following Sections 428 and 669 of the Civil Procedure Code with very wide discretion empowers the court to issue commissions to carry out the following activities:

"428. In any action or proceeding in which the court deems a local investigation to be requisite or proper for the elucidating and matter in dispute, or of ascertaining the market value of any property, or the amount of any means profits or damages annual net profits, and the same cannot be conveniently conducted by the judge in person, the court may issue a commission to such person as it thinks fit, directing him to make such investigation and to report to the court". "669.

The court may, on the application of any party to an action, and on such terms as it thinks fit.
(a) make an order for the detention, preservation, or inspection and survey of any property being the subject of such action;
(b) for all or any of the purposes aforesaid authorize any person to enter upon or into any land or building in the possession of any other party to such action; and
(c) for all or any of the purposes aforesaid authorize any samples to be taken or any observation to be made or experiment to be tried, which may seem necessary or expedient for the purpose of obtaining full information or evidence.


Do I have to file separate action for ejectment?

Question: I got a judgement in my favour in an ejectment case two months ago. The tenant named in the said action appealed against the said judgment and the appeal is now pending before the High Court of Civil Appeal.

I want to eject the tenant from my premises. However, I understand that I have to file a separate action before the original court. Please advise.

Answer: It is advisable to meet a lawyer and get his advice to file a writ of execution pending appeal. If you need further advice, you can visit our Legal Aid Centre in Avissawella which is situated in the Court Complex, Avisswella (Tel. No. 060-2362219) and meet our Legal Officer who will be able to assist you in the matter.


Illegal parking on private road

Question: A private road is obstructed by illegal parking that also poses a security threat. Three wheeler taxi drivers and an unlicensed vehicle repair business and their customers are responsible for the illegal parking.

The business performs repairs on the private road and is a menace for the residents who reside on the private road. Please let me know -
(1) Is it illegal to park on an unnamed private road?
(2) Does a law exists which can be quoted that prohibits parking by non-residents on the private road?
(3) Who can provide written confirmation that the road is a private road? The trespassers claim a public road to justify their unlawful parking, namely the garage/customers and three-wheeler taxi drivers.
(4) Who has the power to prevent the illegal parking, is it the Colombo Municipal Council or Police?
(5)Can the Colombo Municipal Council/Wellawatte Police tow away unauthorised vehicles and charge penalty fines for illegal parking to discourage unlawful parking?
(6)Can the Colombo Municipal Council place a sign to indicate a private road?
(7) Can the Colombo Municipal Council issue resident parking permits for the private road?

I would appreciate feedback on this very important matter.

Answer: (1) A private road can be used by the people who are residing along the private road. The residents along the private road could put a " No Parking" board.
(2) There is no such law.
(3) The Colombo Municipal Council has a road map which indicates whether it is a public road or a private road. If it is a public road, the confirmation is given by the Colombo Municipal Council.
(4) Public Road, it is the police.
(5) Any unauthorised parking in a private road, has to be stopped by the police and not by the Colombo Municipal Council.
(6) The private users themselves can place a sign to indicate a private road.
(7) Colombo Municipal Council does not issue resident parking permits for the private road.


Payment of maintenance through post office or bank

Question: In instances where an order for maintenance is made by court, can payment of maintenance be made through Post Office or Bank. Your early reply is kindly solicited.

Answer: Under the Maintenance Act. No 37 of 1999, it is stated "where an order for maintenance is made under the provisions of this Act, the Magistrate may direct the respondent, that the amount of the payment due under such order, shall be deposited each month on or before such date as may be specified in such order in favour of the person entitled to such payment, at such post office or a bank as may be specified in such order, and the amount so deposited may be drawn by such person from such post office or bank.

It shall be the duty of such officer for the time begin in charge of such post office or bank to pay that amount to the person entitled thereto upon application made in that behalf."

Therefore you can request your lawyer who appeared for you, to ask court that your maintenance payment be made through the Post Office or Bank without going to courts.


Copy of Birth Certificate

Question : My grandson was born in Italy and his birth was registered in that country. However, his parents got the Sri Lankan birth registration to him through the Embassy in Italy. Now my grandson is 18 years old and his Birth Certificate is damaged.

I wish to Know whether my grandson could apply for a copy of his Birth Certificate. Your reply is greatly appreciated.

Answer: Yes, your grandson can obtain a copy of his Birth Certificate. He should go to the Central Record Room, Maligawatte, Colombo 10. They will issue an application form to him where he has to complete it and hand it over to them.

On receipt of the completed application form, the Central Record Room will issue a copy of the Birth Certificate immediately. If you need further details, you can call the Central Record Room on Telephone No. 011 2329773

Declaring option for Widower's and Orphans' Pension Scheme

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Question:

I am a retired Government teacher. I was appointed on a pensionable post on 02.08.1982. I could not contribute to the Widower's and Orphans' Pension Scheme. I have now decided to contribute to this scheme. Could you please let me know the procedure to do so.

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Under the Pensions Circular 08/2007 of the Department of Pension, the final date for declaring option for admittance to Widowers and Orphans Pension Scheme by female officers appointed pensionable post before 01.08.1983 and who were in public service to the said date was extended up to 31.12.2005 by Pensions Circular 8/2005 and up to 30.06.2006 by Pension Circular 6/2006.

In terms of Gazette Notification No. 1489/21 dated 23.03.2007 the final date was extended up to 31.12. 2007 in respect of female officers who could not declare option during above period.

Following persons are entitled to declare option:
1. Female officers who presently in service and opt to declare option.
2. Retired female officers who opt to declare option.
3. Female officers who died before final date to declare option. At this instance, form General 86 'A' can be signed by widower or orphans, guardians of orphans.

However, in your case, you cannot contribute to the Widower's and Orphan's Pension Scheme because the period has lapsed.

No school essay competition in North Western Province

The annual islandwide Essay Competition conducted by the Legal Aid Commission (LAC) with the support of Sri Lanka Telecom will not be held in 2008 due to financial constraints. This year's topic for the essay competition was "Computer, Internet and Globalisation" was meant to encourage the analytical thinking of students relating to global trends impacting the young.

The Provincial Competition would cover schools in the Kurunegala and Puttalam districts

AGM of Voet Inn with the support of the Provincial Ministry of Education.

The Annual General Meeting of Voet Inn Attorneys-at-Law will be held at the Cey-Nor Seafood Restaurant at 6.30 p.m. on August 30. Disclaimer

All Attorneys-at-Law who are past Voet Inners are cordially invited.

The answers to questions are the legal views of individual lawyers and the Legal Aid Commission only compiles them for the Daily News Legal Aid Page.

Your questions should be addressed to - Daily News Legal Aid Page, Chairman, Legal Aid Commission, No, 129, Hulftsdorp Street, Colombo 12. E-mail: [email protected] - Website: www.lawaid.org

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AC centres and telephone numbers

Centre			TEL.NO

01. Head Office		2433618, 5335281
02. Tsunami Regional Center 060-2137153
03. Welikada Prison	5335329
04. Bandarawela		057-2224733
05. Matale		060-2664588/071-4447151
06. Avissawella		060-2362219
07. Ratnapura		045-2226899
08. Negombo		031-5677111	
09. Kalutara		034-5628860
10. Gampaha		033-5677998
11. Polonnaruwa		027-2222293
12. Anuradhapura	025-2224465
13. Kandy		081-2388978
14. Kurunegala		037-2229641
15. Galle		091-2226124
16. Hambantota		047-2221092
17. Nuwara Eliya	052-2235260
18. Moneragala		055-2276891
19. Ampara		063-2223496
20. Kegalle		035-2231790
21. Chilaw		032-5672457
22. Akkaraipattu	067-5675333
23. Balapitiya		091-2255753
24. Matara		041-2233815
25. Vavuniya		024-2221899
26. Trincomalee		026-5676023/026-2222293
27. Kalmunai		067-2223710
28. Jaffna		021-2224444/077/735910
29. Batticaloa		065-2226359
30. Panadura		038-5677100
31. Kuliyapitiya	037-2284611
32. Mahiyangana		055-2258332
33. Mahawa		037-2275075
34. Horana		034-2265244
35. Mathugama		060-2444262
36. Attangalla		033-2297020
37. Dambulla		060-2682238
38. Deniyaya		060-2428006
39. Mawanella		035-2247272
40. Marawila		032-2254443
41. Warakapola		037-2277075
42. Juvenile Court, Bambalapitiya 2507687
43. Nugegoda		2809068
44. Welimada		060-2577019
45. Kantalai		077-4444260
46. Tambuttegama	Tel.not fixed yet
 

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