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.