Sri Lanka to change legal definition of ‘child’ to person under 18

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has decided to amend a law to change the legal definition of ‘child’ from a person under 16 years of age to a a person under 18.

A parliament select committee has proposed an amendment to Sri Lanka’s Children and Young Persons’ Ordinance to enact the change, a statement from the government information department said on Wednesday September 28.

It has also been proposed to amend the words “children and young persons ordinance” to “children’s ordinance” and the words “children and young persons” to “children”.

“Apart from the main statute, in any other written law or in any order or rule made under the main statute or in an advertisement, notification, agreement or other document, the words “young people” should be removed from every place mentioned in the bill,” the statement said.

Accordingly, sub-section (6) of section 71 that comes under section five of the ordinance regarding the prevention of cruelty and exposure to moral and physical danger, the amendment bill has removed the provision “nothing in this section shall be construed to affect the right of any parent, teacher or legal guardian to punish a child or youth”.

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Clause 23 of the Children and Young Persons Ordinance had to do with the establishment of juvenile courts for the supervision of juvenile offenders and for the protection of children and young persons, the statement said.

According to the Children and Young Persons (Amendment) Bill issued on July 18, 2022, that clause now stands amended and the amendments will come into effect on a fixed date published in the government gazette by the Minister of Justice, Prisons Affairs and Constitutional Reforms. (Colombo/Sep28/2022)

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