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Thursday, 30 June 2011

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OPA at your service

Questions and Answers

Submission of NIC

Question - My question is about the submission not production of the identity card. As you are aware according to Section 22 (3) of the Registration of persons. Act No. 32 of 1968 as amended, it is an offence to acquire or submit, deface, alter or affect in any manner the National Identity Card (NIC) issued to a person. It is a punishable offence with a fine of Rs. 1,000 and beyond a sentence ranging from three months to one year or both. Also it applies to both the person who obtains the identity card as well as the person who hands it over.

However, the Manager of the Commercial Bank Branch at Katubedda refuses to acknowledge this law and insists that I hand over the National Identity card and not show it only. I pointed out the legal aspect and also that payment of savings withdrawals are made on personal application and that the owner could/should be identified against the specimen of the signature which is the bank’s possession.

Moreover to facilitate on line transactions the specimen of the customer’s signature is obtained on the pass book itself as well and the bank branches are equipped with advanced technology to identify the customer against the specimen in the Pass Book. I admit that the identity card is required for ease of payment but then the law of the land should be complied with and the bank should be satisfied with production only. Please let me know the correct legal position with regard to the NIC holders’ rights, through your esteemed column in the Daily News.

Answer: You are correct in saying that submission of one’s NIC is an offence under Section 22 (3) of the Registration of Persons act No. 32 of 1968 as amended. However one is expected to produce the NIC for examination and verification purpose. At a security check point it may take a minute or two for examination and return. In a bank it may take even half an hour as the officers authorizing the transaction will insist on sighting the NIC, this is apart from the cashier or person at the counter.

Within the last decade due to emergency regulation and PTA which may supersede other legal requirements the NIC is retained and returned when a person enters a government office and exits after the transaction of the business. The private sector was requested to take such safety precautions. Therefore you need not fear of violating the legal provision in his sense. We also contacted head of the legal section of the Dept. of Registration of Persons and the interpretation given is that security is more important and that handing over the NIC for a couple of hours or its return within the same day is acceptable.


Outstanding grievances with LRC

Question: I, Brigadier (retired) Gamini Angammana counts 27 years of active service in the regular Army spanning from 1965 to 1992 mainly in the battle areas to name a few operations lead by me during Eelam II.

* Kilinochchi rescue operation

* Jaffna Fort rescue operation

* Elephant Pass rescue and expansion operation

Eventhough there are many an encounters and situations that I faced in the battlefield, as a soldier I do not want to blow my own triumphant.

I wish to place on record that I did retire after 27 years of service, to go into cultivation. I am legally entitled for 19.50 Acres of land which L.R.C. has accepted in principle. And I was allocated 12 Acres of land from Balangoda out of which I could survey only 7A 01R15p as balance five acres has been encroached by the Villagers.

Balance seven acres out of my total entitlement. L.R.C. has allocated to me from Doloswale (Galle Gewal Madiya) and as advised when I went to the property I found this land too has been encroached by the Villagers. I did communicate this situation to the Director Land Ceilings and her advice to me was to accept this land and go in for litigation with the squatters. I explained to her that my lifespan will not be sufficient to complete Litigation.

My request to you is to assist me to get my balance acreage from Doloswale tea & rubber estate which has been acquired from my grandmother. My LRC Ref. is R/143.

Thanking you in anticipation.

Answer: We at the OPA consider it a great pleasure to serve persons like you who have served the country to make it a peaceful place to live in after three decades of armed conflict. It is sad to note that you have not been given your fair share. It is unfair for the LRC to request you or expect you to now go in for a legal battle with the squatters having spent 27 years of your life time in battle.

We are quite aware that the Director Land Ceilings at the LRC is not helpful at all and quite an unhelpful person from our experience as well. However, the Chairman and especially the Executive Director are very helpful. We spoke to the Executive Director about your case and he seems to be very familiar with your name.

He agreed to look into your matter and requested you to meet him on any Wednesday being public day. When you meet him you may mention to him that you have come to meet him at the request of the OPA. We too will follow up your case but you must keep us informed of what is happening.


Dedicated Tamil TV Channel

Question: One of the TV Channels provides good Tamil programmes for all of us. Some channels which give Tamil programmes do not have good reception. But the one which can is now full of sports. We have almost forgotten the nice programmes telecasted over in it. It’s sad thing for me and the many viewers like me. The weekends have become so dull, without it.

So why not transfer all that Sports to another channel or have a sports channel separately or not telecast sports beyond our country or some curtailing or alternative done to give us that uninterrupted Tamil programmes.

Answer: From your description it is obvious that you are referring to Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation. It is their “Eye Channel” that shows sports and also provides Tamil programme as “Nethra Channel”.

We spoke to the Rupavahini Corporation and they are quite aware of this problem. The corporation has to carry on amidst certain constraints, thus this problem cannot be sorted within the next year or two. The plan is to go digital by 2015 and at that stage there will be dedicated channels in each language and for sports. Right now they do not have the funds to have as many channels and everything will have to be changed once they go digital. In fact the sad news for viewers is that they will have to change their TV sets to digital by 2015.

Right now Rupavahini has to provide sports too for the sports loving public and sports beyond our country could be test cricket played in the UK where Sri Lanka is playing the England team or the IPL played in India where several of our cricketers are participating. Apart from satisfying the sports lovers, Rupavahini makes more money from advertising. So for the time being you have to bear with the status co.

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