LEGAL AID COMMISSION
Marine pollution is an environmental hazard. About 70 per cent of the
Earth's surface is covered by water and the oceans hold about 96.5 per
cent of all Earth's water. The Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Arctic
Ocean and the Indian Ocean are the main oceans on earth. World Oceans
Day falls on June 8 every year.
Ocean pollution is a serious environmental problem. It directly
affects ocean organisms, marine life and indirectly affects human
health, resources and the world. Oil spills, toxic waste, deep sea
mining and dumping of harmful materials into the ocean are major sources
of marine pollution. The Deep water Horizon oil spill (also referred to
as the BP oil spill or the Gulf of Mexico oil spill) was destroyed by an
explosion on April 20, 2010 and sank into the Gulf of Mexico. It is the
largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum
industry which caused human health problems as well as extensive damage
to marine and wildlife habitats in the Gulf of Mexico.
Toxic wastes are poisonous materials that are being dumped into the
ocean. They harm many plants and animals in the ocean and have a huge
impact on human health. Toxic waste is the most harmful form of
pollution to sea life and humans. When toxic waste harms an organism, it
can quickly be passed along the food chain and may eventually end up
being our seafood. Toxic waste gets into seas and oceans by the leaking
of landfills, dumps, mines, and farms. Farm chemicals and heavy metals
from factories can have a very harmful effect on marine life and humans.
Marine pollution can be categorized in different ways, such as, land
based marine pollution, ship based marine pollution and boating
pollution. Boating pollution is the pollution comes from boat engines.
Marine transportation, oil leaks of ships also cause marine pollution.
Pollution causes a lot of plant and animal deaths in the ocean. Acid
rains also pollute oceans. Acid rain is rain consisting of water
droplets that are unusually acidic because of atmospheric pollution.
When acid rain gets into the ocean, it pollutes the waters and destroys
marine life. Marine Pollution Prevention Act No.35 of 2008 of Sri Lanka
defines marine environment as the factors of the surroundings of human
beings and the biological functions effecting animals and plants of
every description including land, oil, water, atmosphere, climate, sound
and odours, taste, with in the marine eco -sphere as defined by the act.
Act further defines marine pollution as any direct or indirect
alternation of the physical, thermal, chemical, biological or
radioactive properties of any part of the marine environment by the
discharge, emission or the deposit of wastes including introduction by
man, directly or indirectly of any substance or energy into marine life
so as to effect any beneficial use adversely or to cause a condition
which is hazardous to public health, safety or welfare of the animals,
birds, wild life, aquatic life or to plants of every description and
hindrance to marine activity including fishing and other legitimate uses
of the sea and impairment of quality of uses of sea water.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the United Nations
specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of
shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships. IMO Convention
on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other
Matter was adopted on November 13,1972 and entered into force on 30
August 1975. In 1996, Parties adopted a Protocol to the Convention on
the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter
(known as the London Protocol) which entered into force in 2006.
International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships
(MARPOL) - 1973, International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker
Oil Pollution Damage (BUNKER)-2001, International Convention on the
control of the Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems On Ships- 2001 are some of
the International conventions drafted to prevent marine pollution.
Marine Pollution Prevention Act No.35 of 2008 of Sri Lanka is an act
to provide for the prevention, control and reduction of pollution in the
terrestrial waters of Sri Lanka or any other Maritime Zones, its fore
shore and the coastal Zone of Sri Lanka.
It established The Marine Environment prevention Authority with the
sole responsibility to prevent, control and manage the marine
environmental pollution in Sri Lanka. This enactment repealed the Marine
Pollution Prevention Act No.59 of 1981. Act also impose civil and
criminal liability on persons responsible for pollution and deals with
preventive measures against pollution. It also stipulates a permit
Sri Lanka is an island and marine pollution prevention has to be an
integral part of our development process.
Wide variety of marine life such as whales, sharks, dolphins, sea
lions, sea turtles, coral reefs, sea plants, jelly fish and other forms
of organisms live in oceans. Oceans are precious to us. Save the oceans.
Thamarashi Wickramanayake – AAL, Legal Officer, Legal Aid Commission
of Sri Lanka
Attorney General and Solicitor General
Question: Will you please explain as to why we should have both an
Attorney General and a Solicitor General?
Do we also have a Deputy Attorney General? If so, what is the
necessity to have a Solicitor General? What are the different functions
assigned to these two posts?
- J Kariyawasam, Wathugedara
Answer:The Attorney General is the chief legal advisor to the
government, and is responsible for the representation of the government
in court. We don't have a Deputy Attorney General post.
The Solicitor General is the second most senior officer in the
Attorney General's Department.
Question: My father's Death Certificate has been misplaced. How can I
obtain a copy of the same?
- Maduwinda, sent by email
Question: I purchased a laptop (Dell Inspiron 15 R) from a so called
reputed establishment seven months ago. Since then it has given trouble
four times and sent to Colombo thrice for repairs. For almost three
months it was with the establishment whilst under repair. As there was a
defect in the laptop I requested for a replacement the 3rd time I sent
it for repairs, for which they refused although the warranty says so.
Finally with much effort and persuasion they agreed to replace it with a
15 per cent deduction from the original price (73,000). I refused to
accept since it was used only for about three months.
They agreed to replace with another laptop (which was 92,000) and I
was asked to pay only the balance. After packing the product they again
changed their word saying that I have to also pay 15 per cent of the
previous laptop which is not mentioned in the warranty.
Please advise me in this regard.
- Sent by email
Answer: You can file a case against the company under the contract
law. You have another option to make complain to the Consumer Affairs
authority. Complaints should be addressed to Director General of the
Address: Consumer Affairs Authority, CWE Secretariat Building, 27,
Vauxhall Street, Colombo 02
Chairman -Tel: 011-2393496 / 239914
Director General: Tel. 011-2445897 / 2393577 / 2393495
Answer: You can obtain a certified copy of the death certificate from
the Additional District Registrar at the Divisional Secretariat Office
relevant to the place of death occurred.
Fee for obtaining certified copies of death certificates are,
(i) If the registered number and the date of death is known – Rs.100
(ii) If do not know the registered number, but the date of birth is
known, for three month search of registry – Rs. 200
If you know only the year of death, for 2 year search of registry -
Register marriage in Sri Lanka
Question: I am a Sri Lankan and my husband is a Bangladeshi. We
married in Saudi Arabia. How do I register our marriage in Sri Lanka?
Sent by Email
Answer: If your marriage has been registered in the Embassy of Sri
Lanka in Saudi Arabia, it is same as your marriage is registered in Sri
The Embassy in your country will sends a copy of your marriage
certificate to Sri Lanka to be stored in the Central Record Room.
Send an application to the Central Record Room in Colombo to obtain
certified copies of your marriage certificate.
Question: Please let me know the procedure to be followed to alter
information in a birth register?
- Chamara, Horana
Answer: In a Birth certificate,
1. Information in cage 01 (Date and place of birth)
2. Information in cage 03 (Sex)
3. Information in cage 05 (Information of mother - if mother's name
has been changed after the registration of the birth, it is not possible
under this provision)
4. Information in cage 09 (Informant's information) may be altered
5 Produce the declaration to the Additional District Registrar of the
Divisional Secretariat of the area where birth occurred.
6 The declaration should be produced by
7. Owner of the birth certificate
8. Father or Mother
9. Legal guardian
10. A person who is dissatisfied with any of the information
appearing in the birth register
11 Stamps to be affixed to the declaration is Rs. 50
12 A certified copy of the birth register to be amended should be
essentially attached to the declaration.
Following are some written evidences which may be produced to
substantiate the request made in the declaration,
Parents’ marriage certificate
List of children/ brothers and sisters
Birth certificate of father/ mother
Birth certificate of a child born after the registration of parents’
In case there is no child born after the registration of the marriage
of parents, birth certificate of a elder or younger child of the subject
Certified copies of records available in hospitals, maternity homes
or midwife's records
Student's record sheet, extract of the school admission register
Copy of the electoral register where names of the subject and parents
If father is deceased, his death certificate
Changing of name
Question: I want to change my present name. Please let me know the
procedure to be adopted.
- L Dharmarathne, Sent by Email
Answer: You can change your present name. First you have to put a
paper advertisement saying that you have decided to change your name.
After one year, you have to produce a declaration with sufficient
documents to show that you are using the name appeared in the news paper
over a year. The documents has to be submitted to the Divisional
Secretariat where the Birth has been registered.
Your name can be changed under the Birth and Death Registration
Ordinance under Section 27A. Such change of name will be mentioned in
cage 13 of the Birth certificate.
Question: What are the legal requirements to adopt a child in Sri
- Gayantha, Mahara
1. Age of the adoptee child should not be more than 14 years.
2. Requirements to be met by the applicant
i. He/she should be more than 25 years of age
ii. The age gap between the applicant and the adoptee child should be
at least 21 years
iii. This will not apply if the child concerned is a descendant of
the applicant/his brother or sister/any of their married partners
3. Child's consent is required if he/she is over 10 years old
4. Spouses (husband and wife) should produce an application to the
5. Order of adoption is issued by the District Court
6. This order should be registered at the Registrar General's
7. Birth of the adoption child can be re-registered
8. Following documents should be submitted for re-registration of
i. Application for re-registration of birth
ii. Parents’ marriage certificate
iii. Parents’ birth certificates
iv. Adoption certificate
9. The application for re-registration of a birth should be produced
to the Zonal Office of the Registrar General's Department to which the
area where the child is born belongs to.
Question: How do I obtain the SLS permit in Sri Lanka?
- Ranjana, Chilaw
Answer: The procedure to apply a permit
* A manufacturer desirous of obtaining a permit to use the
Certification Mark on a commodity or product must first ascertain
whether a Sri Lanka Standard Specification has been approved and
published by the Institution for the product/commodity concerned.
* Applications shall be submitted on the prescribed form and separate
applications shall be made for each commodity or product covered by a
* (Application forms are issued by the Product Certification Division
for a nominal fee of LKR 500.00+ 12 percent VAT ).
* If the commodity or product bearing the same brand name is produced
at more than one plant of the applicant, separate applications must be
submitted simultaneously in respect of each and every plant
manufacturing that commodity or product under the same brand name.
* Application Processing fee: LKR 1500.00 + 12 percent VAT
For further details Contact the Product Certification Division (Tel.
2671567-72 Ext. 225, 261, 354, 367 or 584)
Question: While I was in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I got married
to a Sri Lankan there. My marriage was registered in Saudi Arabia.
I wish to know whether I need to get my marriage re-registered in Sri
Lanka or my marriage registration in Saudi Arabia is acceptable here in
Kindly advise me in this regard, as to what I should do if my
marriage registration out of Sri Lanka (Saudi Arabia) is not accepted.
Answer: If you want to register your marriage under Sri Lankan law,
you have to register your marriage at the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Saudi
Arabia which has the same status as a marriage registered in Sri Lanka.
Night work by women
Question: What are the safety measures ensured by law for night work
Sent by Email
Answer: Section 2A of the Employment of Women, Young Persons and
Children Act states that:
* Primarily and most importantly a woman cannot be compelled to work
at night against her will.
* The employer must obtain prior approval of the Commissioner of
Labour for the employment of women after 10 p.m.
* The law also provides that no woman who has worked a shift of
during the hours 6 am to 6 pm can be employed after 10 pm on any day.
* The wages for a woman who does night work must be one and a half
times the normal payment received by her.
* Women wardens must be appointed to oversee the welfare of women
workers who work at night.
* All night shift women workers must be provided restrooms and
refreshments by the employer.
* No more than 10 night work shifts that can be allocated to a woman
worker during a period of one month.
* The provisions mentioned above do not apply to women holding
managerial or technical positions, women employed in health and welfare
services (which are not manual in nature) and women of the same family
engaged a family business.
According to the Section 67 Factories Ordinance
* The number of hours worked not including the intervals for meals
and rest and the period of employment cannot exceed nine hours in any
day or forty eight hours in a week.
While all of the Occupational Health and Safety provisions contained
in the Factories Ordinance apply for both men and women, Section 25
specifically states that:
* A woman or young person shall not clean any part of a prime mover
or of any transmission machinery while the prime mover or transmission
machinery is in motion.
* They also should not clean any part of any machine if it exposes
them to risk of injury from any moving part either of that machine or of
any adjacent machinery.
Under Section 86 of the Factories Ordinance provides
* Protection for women and young persons employed in certain
processes connected with lead manufacture and in processes involving the
use of lead compounds.
* The provisions include notifying the Chief Factory Inspecting
Engineer of cases of lead poisoning as a result of manufacturing
The Shop and Office Employees Act, (Section 10) states that
* Person below the age of 14 years cannot be employed in any shop or
office, and any person between the ages of 14 and 18 years cannot be
employed in any shop or office before 6 am or after 6 pm.
* However, any woman above 18 years may be employed in a hotel or
restaurant between the hours of 6 pm and 10 pm.
* Any woman over 18 years of age may be employed in a residential
hotel before 6 am. or after 6 pm. on any day.
* Any woman over 18 years of age may be employed in a shop or office
for the period or any part of the period between 6 pm and 8 pm.
* This rule is relaxed for a male who is above 16 years of age,
enabling him to be employed in the business of a hotel, restaurant or
place of entertainment for the period or any part of the period between
6 pm. and 10 pm.
Section16 of the Act provides for
* The provision of seats in shops in every room behind the counters,
where women are serving customers the proportion of the number of seats
available must be not less than one seat for every three women working
in the room.
* Any employer in either public or private industrial undertakings
which employ women workers and young persons is required by law to
maintain a register of their names, dates of birth as well as their
hours of work and must make it available for inspection at any time.
The employer is also required under the Employment of Women, Young
Persons and Children Act to display the legal provisions in Sinhala,
Tamil and English, pertaining to the protection of the rights of women
and young persons, in the public spaces on the premises.
Under the Mines and Minerals Law and Mines (Prohibition of Females on
Underground Work in Mines expressly prohibits:
*The employment of women, irrespective of age, being employed in
underground mines at any time.
*The exception lies with the employment of women in managerial and