NATIONAL CHILD PROTECTION AUTHORITY ACT, No. 50 OF 1998
[Certified on 12th November, 1998]
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NATIONAL CHILD PROTECTION AUTHORITY FOR THE PURPOSE OF FORMULATING A NATIONAL POLICY ON THE PREVENTION OF CHILD ABUSE AND THE PROTECTION AND TREATMENT OF CHILDREN WHO ARE VICTIMS OF SUCH ABUSE; FOR THE CO-ORDINATION AND MONITORING OF ACTION AGAINST ALL FORMS OF CHILD ABUSE; AND FOR MATTERS CONNECTED THEREWITH OR INCIDENTAL THERETO.
BE it enacted by the Parliament of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka as follows : -
1. Short title and date of operation
This Act may be cited as the National Child Protection Authority Act, No. 50 of 1998 and shall come into operation on such date as the Minister may, appoint by Order published in the Gazette.
2. Establishment of the National Child Protection Authority
(1) There shall be established an Authority which shall be called the National Child Protection Authority (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the "Authority").
(2) The Authority shall by the name assigned to it by subsection (1) be a body corporate and shall have perpetual succession and a common seal and may sue and be sued in such name.
3. Members of the Authority
The Authority shall consist of -
(a) the following members to be appointed by the President (hereinafter referred to as the "appointed members") -
nominated by the Minister in charge of the subject of Health;
(b) the following ex-officio member, namely -
4. Disqualification from being a member
A person shall be disqualified from being appointed or continuing as a member of the Authority if -
5. Removal and resignation of members
(1) An appointed member of the Authority may resign his office by letter addressed to the President and such resignation shall be effective from the date on which it is accepted by the President.
(2) The President may for reasons assigned remove an appointed member of the Authority from office.
(3)Where a member of the Authority dies, resigns or is removed from office, the President shall, having regard to the provisions of section 3. appoint another member in his place.
(4) A member appointed under subsection (3) shall hold office for the unexpired part of the term of office of the member whom he succeeds.
6. Term of office of members
Subject to the provisions of subsections (1) and (2) of section 5 the term of office of an appointed member of the Authority shall be three years and such member shall be eligible for re-appointment for one more term of office.
7. Remuneration or allowance of members
The members of the Authority shall be paid remuneration or allowances out of the Fund of the Authority at such rates as may be determined by the Minister.
8. Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Authority
(1) The President may appoint as the Chairman of the Authority, a member who has proven experience and capacity in the field of administration, management, law, child welfare, education or other related field.
(2) The President may appoint another member as the Deputy Chairman of the Authority.
(3) If the Chairman or the Deputy Chairman is by reason of illness or absence from Sri Lanka, temporarily unable to perform the duties of his office, the President may appoint another member of the Authority to act in his place.
(4) The Chairman and the Deputy Chairman shall not engage in any paid employment outside the duties of their office, without the approval of the President.
9. Meetings of the Authority
(1) The Chairman of the Authority shall, if present preside at every meeting of the Authority. In the absence of the Chairman from any such meeting, the Deputy Chairman shall preside at such meeting. In the absence of both the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman from any such meeting, a member elected from among the members present shall preside at such meeting.
(2) The quorum for any meeting of the Authority shall be six members.
(3) The Chairman or the Deputy Chairman or other member presiding at any meeting of the Authority, shall in addition to his own vote, have a casting vote.
(4) Subject to the preceding provisions of this section, the Authority may regulate the procedure in regard to the meetings of the Authority and the transaction of business of such meetings.
10. Act not invalidated by reason of a vacancy
No act, decision or proceeding of the Authority, shall be deemed to be invalid by reason only of the existence of any vacancy of the Authority or any defect in the appointment of any member thereof.
11. Seal of the Authority
(1) The seal of the Authority may be determined and devised by the Authority, and may be altered in such manner as may be determined by the Authority.
(2) The seal of the Authority shall be in the custody of such person as the Authority may decide from time to time.
(3) The seal of the Authority shall not be affixed to any instrument or document except with the sanction of the Authority and in the presence of the Chairman and one member who shall sign the instrument or document in token of their presence.
(4) The Authority shall maintain a register of the instruments and documents to which the seal of the Authority has been affixed.
12. Authority to exercise its powers under the direction of the Minister
In the exercise of its powers and the discharge of its functions, the Authority shall comply with the policy of the Government in relation to the protection and welfare of children and with any general or special directions issued to it by the Minister in relation to the implementation of such policy.
13. Delegation of powers and functions of the Authority
(1) The Authority may delegate any of the powers and functions of the Authority to the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman.
(2) The Chairman and the Deputy Chairman to whom any of the powers and functions of the Authority have been delegated under subsection (1) shall exercise or discharge the powers and functions so delegated, subject to the general or special directions of the Authority.
14. Functions of the Authority
The functions of the Authority shall be -
15. Powers of the Authority
The Authority shall have the power -
16. Panel of officials
(1) There shall be a Panel of officials (hereinafter referred to as "the Panel").
(2) The Panel shall consist of the following officers: -
17. Panel to assist in the implementation of the decisions of the Authority
The officials of the Panel shall attend all meetings of the Authority and assist the Authority in the implementation of the decisions of the Authority.
18. Authority to advise the Minister
The Minister may on the advise of the Authority issue general or special directions to any Government departments or statutory institutions requiring any such department or institution to carry out such acts relating to the prevention of child abuse as are specified in such direction.
19. Staff of the Authority
(1) The Authority may appoint officers and servants as it considers necessary for the efficient discharge of its functions.
(2) The officers and servants appointed under subsection (1) shall be remunerated in such manner and at such rates and shall be subject to such conditions of service as may be determined by the Authority with the approval of the Minister.
(3) At the request of the Authority an officer in the public service may, with the consent of the officer and the Secretary to the Ministry of the Minister in charge of the subject of Public Administration, be temporarily appointed to the Authority for such period as may be determined by the Authority with like consent, or be permanently appointed to such staff.
(4) Where any officer in the public service is temporarily appointed to the staff of the Authority, the provisions of subsection (2) of section 14 of the National Transport Commission Act. No. 37 of 1991, shall, mutatis mutandis, apply, to and in relation, to him.
(5) Where any officer in the public service is permanently appointed to the staff of the Authority, the provisions of subsection (3) of section 14 of the National Transport Commission Act, No. 37 of 1991. shall, mutatis mutandis, apply, to and in relation, to him.
(6) Where the Authority employs any person who has agreed to serve the Government for a specified period, any period of service to the Authority by that person shall be regarded as service to the Government for the purpose of discharging the obligations of such agreement.
20. Fund of the Authority
(1) The Authority shall have its own fund (hereinafter referred to as the "Fund").
(2) There shall be paid into the Fund -
(2) There shall be paid out of the Fund all such sums as are required to defray the expenditure incurred by the Authority in the exercise, performance and discharge of its powers, duties and functions under this Act or under any other written law and all such sums as are required to be paid out of the Fund.
21. Exemption from certain taxes
Every donation made by money or otherwise to the Authority shall, for the purposes of paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of section 31 of the Inland Revenue Act, No. 28 of 1979 be deemed to be a donation made in money or otherwise to a fund established by the Government.
22. Financial year and audit of accounts
(1) The financial year of the Authority shall be the calendar year.
(2) The provisions of Article 154 of the Constitution relating to the audit of the accounts of public corporations shall apply to the audit of the accounts of the Authority.
23. Declaration of secrecy
Every member of the Authority and all officers and servants of the authority, shall before entering upon his duties, sign a declaration pledging himself to observe strict secrecy in respect of all matters connected with the affairs of the Authority, and shall by such declaration pledge himself not to disclose any matter which may come to his knowledge in the performance or discharge of his duties and functions relating to the identity of any victim of child abuse except -
24. Returns and information
(1) For the purpose of enabling the Authority to exercise, perform and discharge any of the powers, duties and functions under section 14 and section 15 of this Act, the Authority or any person authorized in that behalf by the Authority may by notice in writing require any person to furnish to the Authority or to the person authorised, within such period as shall be specified in the notice, all such returns or information pertaining to any activities relating to children as are known to, or in the possession of, such person.
(2) It shall be the duty of any person who is required to furnish any return or information by a notice under subsection (1) to comply with such requirement within the period specified in such notice, except where such person is precluded from making such return or divulging such information under the provisions of any law.
(3) The Authority or any member thereof or any officer or servant of the Authority, shall not disclose to any person or use any returns or information furnished under subsection (1), except when required to do so by a court of law or for the purposes of discharging its functions.
25. Authority to be a scheduled institution within the meaning of the Bribery Act
The Authority shall be deemed to be a scheduled institution within the meaning of the Bribery Act and the provisions of that Act, shall be construed accordingly.
26. Members, officers and servants of the Authority deemed to be public servants
All members, officers and servants of the Authority shall be deemed to be public servants within the meaning and for the purposes of the Penal Code.
27. State property both movable and immovable to be made available to the Authority
(1) Where any immovable property of the State is required for any purpose of the Authority, such purpose shall be deemed to be a purpose for which a special grant or lease of such property may be made under section 6 of the Crown Lands Ordinance and accordingly the provisions of that Ordinance shall apply to a special grant or lease of such property to the Authority.
(2) Where any movable property of the State is required for any purpose of the Authority, the Minister may, by Order published in the Gazette, transfer to, and vest in the Authority the possession and use of such movable property:
Provided however, that no Order affecting any movable property of the State shall be made by the Minister under the preceding provisions of this subsection, without the concurrence of the Minister having control over such property.
28. Acquisition of immovable property under the Land Acquisition Act
(1) Where any immovable property is required to be acquired for any specific purpose of the Authority and the Minister by Order published in the Gazette approves of the proposed acquisition for that purpose that property shall be deemed to be required for a public purpose and may accordingly be acquired under the Land Acquisition Act and transferred to the Authority.
(2) Any sum payable, for the acquisition of any immovable property under the Land Acquisition Act for the Authority shall be paid out of the Fund of the Authority.
29. Protection for action taken under this Act or on the direction of the Authority
(1) No action or prosecution shall be instituted -
(a) against the Authority, for any act, which in good faith is done or purported to be done by the Authority under this Act; or
(b) against any member, officer or servant of the Authority or an officer of the Panel for any act which in good faith is done or purported to be done by him under this Act or on the direction of the Authority.
(2) Any expenses incurred by any such person as is referred to in paragraph (b) of subsection (1), in any action or prosecution instituted against him in respect of any act which is done or purported to be done by him under this Act or on the direction of the Authority shall be paid out of the Fund of the Authority, if the Court holds that such act was done in good faith.
30. No writ to be against a member, officer or servant of the Authority
No writ against the person or property shall be issued against any member of the Authority or any officer or servant of the Authority in any action brought against the Authority.
31. Furnishing of information to the Minister
The Minister may, from time to time, direct the Authority to furnish to the Minister in such form as the Minister may require returns, accounts and other information with respect to the work of the Authority and the Authority shall carry out every such direction.
32. Annual report
The Authority shall submit an annual report to the Minister of all its activities during the year to which the report relates, and the Minister shall cause such report to be placed before Parliament. The Authority may, whenever it considers it necessary to do so, submit periodic or special reports to Minister in respect of any particular matter or matters examined by it, and the action taken in respect thereof.
33. Powers of Authority to authorise any officer to enter and inspect any premises
The Authority may, where it has reason to believe that there is child abuse on any premises and that application to court for a search warrant may prejudice investigation into such child abuse, authorize in writing an officer of the Authority to enter and search such premises. An Officer so authorized is hereinafter referred to as an "authorized officer".
34. Power of inspection and search
(1) Any authorized officer may -
(2) Every person who obstructs or resists such officer in the exercise of any power conferred on him by subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and shall on conviction after summary trial by a Magistrate be liable to a fine not less than one thousand rupees or to imprisonment of either description for a term not less than six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.
35. Power to seize articles
(1) Any authorized officer may, if he has reason to believe that any offence under any law relating to children, has been or is being committed, seize and detain -
(2) Where any authorized officer seizes any article under subsection (1), such article shall be kept in the custody and control of the Authority pending its disposal.
36. Authorized officers deemed to be peace officers
All authorized officers appointed under section 33 shall be deemed to be peace officers within the meaning of and for the purposes of, the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, No. 15 of 1979.
(1) Every person who -
(2) Every person who commits an offence under this Act for which no punishment is expressly provided by any other provision of this Act, shall on conviction after trial before a Magistrate, be liable to a fine not exceeding five thousand rupees or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.
(3) Where an offence under this Act is committed by a body of persons, then -
shall be deemed to be guilty of that offence:
Provided, however that a director or an officer of such body corporate or partner of such firm shall not be deemed to be guilty of such offence if he proves that such offence was committed without his knowledge or that he used all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence.
(4) Every officer of the Panel or an officer or servant authorized in writing by the Authority shall be deemed to be a public officer within the meaning of section 136 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, No. 15 of 1979, for the purpose of instituting proceedings in respect of offences under laws relating to children.
(1) The Minister may make regulations in respect of any matter required by this Act to be prescribed or in respect of which regulations are authorized by this Act to be made.
(2) Every regulation made by the Minister shall be published in the Gazette and shall come into operation on the date of such publication or on such later date as may be specified in such regulation.
(3) Every regulation made by the Minister shall as soon as convenient after its publication in the Gazette, be brought before Parliament for approval. Any regulation which is not so approved shall be deemed to be rescinded as from the date of such disapproval but without prejudice to anything previously done thereunder.
(4) Notification of the date on which any regulation made by the Minister is deemed to be rescinded shall be published in the Gazette.
In this Act unless the context otherwise requires -
"Chairman" means the Chairman of the Authority appointed under section 8;
"child" means a person under eighteen years of age;
"child abuse" means any act or omission relating to a child, which would amount to a contravention of any of the provisions of -
"Deputy Chairman" means the Deputy Chairman of the Authority appointed under section 8.
"local authority" means any Municipal Council, Urban Council or Pradeshiya Sabha and includes any authority created or established by or under any law to exercise, performance and discharge, powers, duties and functions corresponding to or similar to the powers, duties and functions exercised, performed and discharged by any such Council or Sabha;
"Provincial Council" means a Provincial Council established under Chapter XVIIA of the Constitution;
40. Sinhala text to prevail in case of inconsistency
In the event of any inconsistency between the Sinhala and Tamil texts of this Act the Sinhala text shall prevail.
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