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Saturday, 29 December 2012

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Legal Aid Commission

THE LEGAL AID COMMISSION WISHES A HAPPY NEW YEAR:

ACCESS TO JUSTICE for persons with disabilities

All human beings are born free, equal in dignity and rights. The recognition of “dignity and justice for all persons” is a universal principle. The universally most significant, pioneering organization in relation to Human Rights is the United Nations. The Charter of the United Nations states, “We the people of the United Nations reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women.”

As stated in the UN Convention all persons should be able to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life.

To achieve this, measures must be taken to ensure all persons access to justice on equal basis with others, to the physical environment, including information and communications technologies and systems and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas.

These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility.

The United Nations and World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that there are approximately 650 million Persons with Disabilities, or 10 percent of the global population. An estimated 80 percent of these persons live in developing countries and many of them under the conditions of extreme poverty.

In data found from both developed and developing countries indicates that persons with disabilities are disproportionately represented among the world’s poor and tend to be poorer than their counterparts without disabilities.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities defines a disable as follows: “Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others”.

When we consider the plight of persons with disabilities, it is very pathetic because they are at a higher risk of becoming victims of crime and exploitation because of their difference and become easily vulnerable than the normal persons. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all countries to reaffirm that persons with disabilities have the right to recognition everywhere as persons before the law and they should be recognized without any discrimination and they should be able to enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life.

It is the responsibility of all to take appropriate and effective measures to ensure the equal right of persons with disabilities to own or inherit property, to control their own financial affairs and to have equal access to bank loans, mortgages and other forms of financial credit, and shall ensure that persons with disabilities are not arbitrarily deprived of their property.

Access to justice for people with disabilities often means overcoming obstacles of discrimination, communication, and physical access. They are at a higher risk of becoming victims of crime and exploitation, they may be unknowingly used by others for criminal purposes, they may be denied opportunities because of their difference, and they may lack access facilities and resources they need, including courts and other legal institutions.

Lack of advanced technology system, lack of legal awareness among the judges, lawyers, police and the disabled group, it is a great disadvantage in proceeding and early conclusion of the cases.

This is mainly due to inadequate resources and the lack of proper research, policy implementation by the relevant authorities. Therefore, access to justice for persons with disabilities, specially in the judicial system is a major issue that has to be discussed.

- Attorney at Law
Kalani Medagoda


Questions and Answers

Divisional Secretariats

Question: Please let me know the contact details of the Divisional Secretariat’s officers in Southern and Central Provinces?

- Hiran, Mahara

Answer: Southern Province covers there Districts, namely, Galle, Matara and Hambantota. The Central Province covers three Districts, namely, Kandy, Matale and Nuwara Eliya. The contact details of the Divisional Secretariat ‘s officers are given below .

Southern Province - Galle District - DIVISION TELEPHONE FAX

Galle - 091 - 2222989 - 2222989
Tawalama - 091 - 2224450 - 2224450
Niyagama - 091 - 2296438 - 2296438
Ambalangoda - 091 - 2258023 -2258238
Karandeniya - 091 - 2291136 -2291136
Elpitiya - 091 - 2291418 - 2291418
Neluwa - 091 - 2224480 -2224480
Nagoda - 091 - 2296436 -2296436
Balapitiya - 091 - 2258383 -2258383
Hikkaduwa - 091 - 2277231 - 2277231
Akmeemana - 091 - 2234757 - 2234757
Bentota - 091 - 2275238 - 2275238
Habaraduwa - 091 - 2283393 -2283393
Baddegama - 091 - 2292398 -2292398
Yakkalamulla - 091 - 2286038 - 2286030
Bope-Poddala - 091 - 2234670 -2234670
Welipitiya Divithura - 091 - 2245142 - 2245142
Imaduwa - 091 - 2286259 -2286259 -
Matara District - DIVISION - TELEPHONE -FAX
Matara - 041 - 2222238 - 2222238
Weligama - 041 - 2250236 -2250237
Kamburupitiya - 041 - 2292538 -2292538
Hakmana - 041 - 2286238 - 2286238
Pasgoda - 041 - 2291238 - 291238
Kotapola - 041 - 2271236 -2271236
Pitabeddara - 041 - 2281236 -2281237
Malimbada - 041 - 2240219 - 2240219
Akuressa - 041 - 2283235 - 2283235
Dikwella - 041 - 2255237 - 2255237
Tihagoda - 041 - 2245236 - 2245237
Mulatiyana - 041 - 2268238 - 2268238
Devinuwara - 041 - 2222584 -2222584
Welipitiya - 041 - 2251758 -2251758
Aturaliya - 041 - 2283793 - 2283793
Kirinda Puhulwella - 041 - 2286797- 2286574
Hambantota District - DIVISION - TELEPHONE - FAX
Hambantota - 047 - 2220238 - 2220244
Tissamaharama - 047 - 2237238 -2237148
Lunugamvehera - 047 - 2237038 - 2237619
Sooriyawewa - 047 - 2289038 - 2289039
Angunakolapelessa - 047 - 2228238 - 2228238
Weeraketiya - 047 - 2246261 - 2246238
Ambalantota - 047 - 2223338 - 2223238
Katuwana - 047 - 2247238 - 2247237
Okewela - 047 - 2254178 - 2254179
Tangalle - 047 - 2240238 - 2240238
Beliatta - 047 - 2243439 -2243338
Walasmulla - 047 - 2254075

Central Province : Kandy District - DIVISION - TELEPHONE - FAX

Gangawatakoralaya - 081 - 2225133 - 2225133
Pathahewaheta - 081 - 2404385 - 2404385
Medadumbara - 081 - 2374077 - 2374077
Ududumbara - 081 - 2402238 -
Panwila - 081 - 2476336
Pasbagekorale - 054 - 2222138 -2222138
Tumpane - 081 - 2461234 - 2461234
Poojapitiya -081 - 2300502 -2300502
Yatinuwara - 081 - 2575735
Minipe - 055 - 2257138 - 2257693
Udapalatha - 081 - 2352585 -2352236
Harispattuwa - 081 - 2499815 -2499815
GangaIhalakorale - 081 - 2352604
Udunuwara - 081 - 2315436 - 231543
Akurana - 081 - 2300504 -2304022
Kundasale - 081 - 2374444 - 2374444
Pathadumbara - 081 - 2476236 -2475746
Deltota - 081 - 2467025
Doluwa -070 - 2801791
Hataraliyadda - 081 - 2464288

Matale District - DIVISION - TELEPHONE -FAX

Matale -066 - 2222733- 2222733
NaUla - 066 - 2246238 -2246298
Dambulla - 066 - 2284738 -2284807
Pallepola - 066 - 2247223 - 2247238
Galewela - 066 - 2289308 -2289238
Yatawatta - 066 - 2221632 - 2221633
Wilgamuwa - 066 - 2250038 - 2250039
Laggala - 066 - 2275038 - 2275039
Ukuwela - 066 - 2244397 -2244207
Rathtota - 066 - 2220789 -2220790
Ambangaha korale - 066 - 2255433 - 2255365

Nuwara Eliya District - DIVISION - TELEPHONE -FAX

Hanguranketha - 081 - 2369236 - 2369488
Kotmale - 052 - 2259545 -2259367
Walapane - 052 - 2279154 - 2279138
Nuwara Eliya - 052 - 2222237 -052 - 2259511 -2222237
Ambagamuwa - 051 - 2242213 -2242213


Complaint against a post office

Question: Please let me know the complaint procedure against postal matters ?

Sent by Email

Answer: Complaints against Post Office should be addressed to the Post master of the office concerned, unless the matter complained of is of such importance as to call for an independent investigation. If the complainant is not satisfied with the action taken by the Postmaster or for other reasons desires an independent investigation, he should address the Chief Postmaster, Chief Telegraph Master or Divisional Superintendent concerned or the Postmaster General. Complaints on matters of special importance should always be addressed direct to the Postmaster General.

A list of Post Offices in the island will be found in alphabetical order in the Inland Post and Telecommunication Directory in Part II, and against each office, in column 11 is shown the Postal Division. The indicators in column 2 are explained on pages 1-5 of Part II of the “Post Office Guide”.

Complaints made by the senders of registered or insured articles or by the remitters of Money Orders should be accompanied by copies of the receipts granted by the Post Office, and complaints from the senders of unregistered articles of the loss of the articles should furnish the certificate of posting, where one has been obtained, or such information as may be available to establish the actual posting of the articles, such as (1) the date and hour of posting, (2) the locality of the letter box in which posted, (3) the full address on the article, and (4) the person by whom posted. In many complaints it is found that articles entrusted to messengers or servants are never actually posted, or are not posted at the time believed, or that the posting is uncertain.

In all cases of loss of the contents of an article, the cover or wrapper should accompany the complaint, and a full description of the missing contents should be given ; if the missing contents are currency notes, the serial letters and numbers and general numbers of the notes should be given. In all cases of damage to the contents of an article, the contents and the wrapper, cover, or package should accompany the complaint.

Complaints of delay in the delivery of articles should be accompanied by the original covers or wrappers. In a complaint regarding the Savings Bank, the number of the pass book and the name of the office at which the first deposit was made should always be given.

Complaints of overcharge on articles, the delivery of which has been accepted, should be addressed to the Postmaster of the office of delivery, to whom the article should be taken or sent before it is opened.

Complaints regarding the wrong payment or non-payment of a Money Order cannot be attended to unless preferred within twelve months of the date of issue of the Money Order. Other complaints cannot be attended to unless preferred within six months of the date of the occurence to which they relate, of the date of its issue.


One day service

Question: I want to amend the name in my identity card. Do they have a one day service to get it done?

Sent by Email

Answer: Yes, Registrar of persons department has introduced one day service facility. The applicant could obtain the National Identity Card within a working day. One day service is carried out in all week days excluding the public holidays from 8.30 a.m. to completion of issuing the Identity Cards for the applications attained.

The receiving of the applications commence at 8.30 a.m. and close at 12.00 p.m. What are the Services Provided?• Issuing new Identity Cards• Issuing Renewing Identity Cards• Issuing Duplicate Copies of Identity Cards, Fees: Government Fee of Rs.500


Duplicate of Certificate of Vehicle

Question: I have lost my Certificate of Registration and vehicle identification card. I want to know whether there is any possibility to get it back from the Motor Traffic Department ?

- Daisy, Angoda

Answer: Yes, You can get the duplicate of Certificate of Registration (CR) and vehicle identification card (VIC /Sticker / Number plate) from the Motor Traffic Department at Narahenpita.

Documents required to obtain a duplicate of certificate of registration (cr) and vehicle identification card (vic /sticker / number plate)

• Application (CMT65)

• In case of loss of original of certificate of registration, vehicle identification card, sticker, number plate, a Copy of the complaint made to the Police by the applicant

• If original of VIC/sticker/number plate is deformed/damaged/destroyed such originals should also be submitted.

• If absolute ownership or mortgage has been registered a report obtained from the relevant institution to the effect that there is no objection to issue a duplicate.

• Receipts for the payment of specific taxes for the diesel card, dual purpose vehicles, luxurious and semi luxurious vehicles.


Job agreements

Question: I came to know that Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) wants all those leaving for overseas jobs to sign a Job Agreement in order to get them registered with the Bureau prior to their departure. What kind of information does it contain ? Please advice me ?

- Anurada, Piliyandala

Answer: If you are a male worker, domestic worker for non Middle Eastern countries or a skilled female worker you should sign an agreement with the local recruitment agent. Domestic workers leaving to Middle Eastern countries must sign an agreement at the Embassy of that particular country.

The following signatures and endorsements should be available on the agreement. If recruitment is done by an agent:

1. Signature of employer
2. Signature of foreign agent
3. Signature of the Embassy / Consulate official
4. Signature of local agent
5. Signature of housemaid

If you are going abroad through a visa sent by a friend or a relative:

1. Signature of the employer
2. Signature of Embassy / Consulate official
3. Signature of House maid

You can use the following guidelines in the agreement:

1. Wages
2. Salary deductions
3. Rest days
4. Annual and casual leave
5. Medical benefits
6. Duties
7. Welfare
8. Termination of contract
9. Dispute settlement
10. Transfer of employment
11. Repatriation
12. Airfare cost


Obtaining a license of foreign employment agency

Question: My friend and I decide to start a foreign employment agency in Sri Lanka. Please let me know how I can obtain a foreign employment agency license for our proposed office.

Please let me know the procedure ?

- Ameed, Mahara

Answer: After fulfilling the following requirements, you can start a foreign employment agency in Sri Lanka. To obtain a foreign employment agency license, you should have an office which;

• is situated in an easily accessible place where public transport is available.

• Have a floor area of at least 500 square feet.

• Have telephones with IDD facilities, fax, computers, databases, type writers, photocopiers and trade testing facilities.

You can then apply for the license by submitting the following documents:

• Business Registration Certificate or certified copy of Form 48 & Articles and Memorandums (If registered under the companies act)

• Layout plan of the office and the lease agreement or deed of the premises.

• Affidavits regarding citizenship of the partners of the business / company.

• Two recent testimonials in support of the character and reputability of the person who is in charge of the foreign employment agency. One of these should be from the local Gramasevaka Niladhari of the area where he resides confirming that the person who is applying for the license has been living in that area.

• A bank guarantee of a commercial bank issued on behalf of you or your agency.

• You should also furnish the following documents of yourself and the other partners or Directors of the agency:

- Birth Certificate(s)

- Personal bio-data(s)

- Photocopies of their National Identity Card(s) or Passport

- Police clearance reports from the nearest police station

- A passport sized photograph of the officer in charge of the agency

After the above documents have been submitted, a team from the SLBFE would visit and inspect the premises and check the authenticity of the documents before granting them the approval for the licence.

The licence which you have obtained would be valid only for a period of one year from the date of issue.


Renewing licence

Question: I have a job agency in Anuradapura. Please let me know how I can renew the agency licence?

- Karanadasa, Anuradapura

Answer: You can renew your agency license by submitting the completed application form available at the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE).

You must remember to submit the renewal application 30 days before the license expires and the SLBFE would then evaluate your past performances, inspect your office, equipment, records and grant approval for the renewal of the licence.

If you wish to shift your recruiting agency to a new location, you should obtain the approval of the Licence Division of the SLBFE by submitting and application along with the following documents:

• Location of the new office

• Proof of legal occupancy of such premises

• Revised business registration certificate with the details of the new premises


Certified translations

Question: My brother lives in England. Is it possible for me to obtain a certified translations of his birth and marriage certificate. Can I do it my self on behalf of my brother ?

- Duminda, Labugama

Answer: Yes it is possible. Please visit the Registrar General's Department Head Office at Battaramulla with the original birth and marriage certificates of your brother and they will help you. Fee for an English translated certificate is Rs. 100


Power of Attorney

Question: My friend who has dual citizenship in Sri Lanka as well as France would like to know whether he could give a Power of Attorney to two different persons in Sri Lanka to start a business? If so how can we register it?

- Anurada,Matara

Answer: Yes. Please visit the Registrar General's Department Head Office at Battaramulla with the following documents. Take the original power of attorney with the additional true copy attested by a notary of public and also the affidavit.


Finding employment through friend

Question: My friend has made an offer for me to work in Middle East country. What are the things that I should take into consideration before I go? Please advice me.

- Samadara, Anuradapura

Answer: If you have found employment through a friend or relative living abroad the following things you should aware of.

You have to visit the closest training centre to complete the necessary training and obtain the necessary training certificate.

You can then visit the Head Office of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) or the closest training centre and produce the following documents to get yourself registered - your passport, training certificate, valid visa

Job agreement: If all the above documents are in order, the officer would handover a form and a bank slip for you to pay the necessary registration fee. You can then pay the registration fee to the bank specified by the officer. Once this is done, you can handover the following documents to the SLBFE, Bank slips with the banks endorsements, completed declaration form, passport

Job agreement: Photo copies of the following documents, Main page of passport, previous departure and arrivals pages of the passport (If you are to be exempted from training)Visa / work permit / no objection certificate. Job agreement and any other document if requested. If all the above documents are in order, the officer would issue the necessary approval by endorsing the registration stamp on your passport.

Head office: +94 112 864101 – 105 +94 112880500
“Sahanapiyasa” Unit: +94 112 259953
24 Hour Service Centre:+94 11 2879900 – 902
Fax:+ 94 11 2879903
E-mail: [email protected]


Consumer protection

Question: Is there any law to protect consumers? Please advice me.

- Sadunika, Mahara

Answer: Under the Consumer Protection Act No 09 of 2003, The Consumer Protection Authority has power to take legal action against shop owners who are selling goods at higher prices than the registered price and disregarding hygienic conditions. The Act provides for the protection of consumers against the marketing of hazardous goods/services, and unfair trade practices. It aims to ensure that consumers have adequate access to goods/services at competitive prices and they are able to seek redress against unfair and restrictive trade practices.

The functions and responsibilities of the Consumer Affairs Authority and the Consumer Affairs Council are directed towards these purpose. The Council conducts inquiries relating to complaints made by consumers, especially on anti-competitive trading practices. Therefore please make a complaint to the consumer protection authority at the following address:Consumer protection Authority, 1 & 2nd Floor, Sathosa Building, No 27, Vauxhall Street, Colombo 2

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