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Obtaining first NIC: Fine increased for citizens over 40

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A citizen over the age of 40 who has not obtained a National Identity Card (NIC) will have to pay a fine of Rs.2,500.

Earlier, only Rs.250 was charged if a citizen failed to obtain a NIC within the stipulated time.

This has been communicated to all Divisional Secretaries in a letter signed by Commissioner General of Registration of Persons, Pradeep Saputhanthri.

However, the department will continue to charge the previous fine of Rs.250 from the citizens with lower income. To be eligible to pay this fine, a recommendation from the Grama Niladhari Officer is required.

Accordingly, the Commissioner General said the recommendation of the Grama Niladhari Officer and the receipt of paying the fine of Rs.250 should be sent to his department immediately along with the NIC application.

He also requested the citizens over the age of 40 to send NIC applications before December 31, 2023.

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Investigations launched into alleged Rs. 8 billion fraud in trading community scheme

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The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka have initiated separate investigations into a suspected fraud where a man and his wife are alleged to have defrauded approximately Rs. 8 billion from around 22,000 individuals across the country. 

The fraudulent scheme, reminiscent of a pyramid scheme, involved promises of establishing a trading community and acquiring dollars for the country through the distribution of educational packages.

Complaints received by the CID and the Central Bank indicate that approximately 22,000 people fell victim to this fraud. 

The suspect, who started a business school and a company in the Kurunegala area, claimed that investments would be made in a company in the United Arab Emirates, and the commission received would be distributed to the investors. 

Preliminary investigations have uncovered the use of fake documents to deceive individuals into believing that the business school and the company were registered.

Investors reportedly invested amounts ranging from one to 1.5 million rupees, with some not receiving any benefits. 

Both the CID and the Central Bank are actively pursuing the investigation to apprehend the individuals responsible for the alleged Rs. 8 billion fraud.

Source – dailymirror.lk

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SLPP MP temporarily ordained as monk

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SLPP Kandy District MP – Gunatileke Rajapaksa has been temporarily ordained as a Buddhist monk at the historical Isipathanarama Temple in India.

He is now known as Ven. Harispathuwe Dhammarathana Thera.
His son – Sandakelum Rajapaksa, who is an engineer by profession, has also been ordained as Ven. Ampare Dhammaloka Thera.

The MP had reportedly decided to enter into the religious order after the recent death of his wife. He too, was recently hospitalised after falling ill.

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Court delays ruling on Online Safety Act challenge

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The Sri Lankan Supreme Court today indefinitely postponed its decision on whether to hear a fundamental rights petition challenging the Online SafetyAct No. 9 of 2024.

President’s Counsel and Jaffna District Member of Parliament M A Sumanthiran filed a fundamental rights application in the Supreme Court on 14th Feb., challenging the Speaker’s certification of the Online Safety Bill as having been enacted into law.

During the hearing, Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam presented five preliminary objections, arguing that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case since the Speaker has already signed the bill into law. 

He further emphasized that the legislature holds the sole authority to pass bills, and the court cannot intervene in that process.

Countering these arguments, Attorney-at-Law Suren Fernando, representing Sumanthiran, asserted that the petition aimed solely at the Speaker’s signing of the Act, which he claimed contravened previous Supreme Court pronouncements on related petitions. 

He emphasized the petitioner’s intention to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.

The three-judge bench, comprising Justices Priyantha Jayawardene, Shiran Gunaratne, and Achala Vengappuli, decided to postpone their decision on hearing the petition indefinitely. 

In his Petition, MP Sumanthiran claims that the government was seeking to enact the Bill without fully adhering the Supreme Court Determination, and that he had pointed out that the draft committee stage amendments would not sufficiently rectify the shortcomings, and provided his concerns in writing to the Speaker.

However, the Parliament had voted on the Bill prior to ensuring full compliance with the Determination, according to Sumanthiran.

The Petitioner claims that the Bill could have been passed by simple majority only if all the changes required by the Supreme Court were incorporated. If these were not incorporated, the Bill could only have been enacted if 2/3 of the whole number of MPs voted in favour of the Bill.

MP Sumanthiran states that the Bill was approved only by a simple majority of members present, and that therefore the Bill could not have become law.

Therefore he states that the Speaker, by certifying that the Bill was enacted into law, has violated the public trust and the fundamental rights guaranteed to Sumanthiran and the citizenry.

Sumanthiran also states that according to the Speaker, he had acted in accordance with advise given by the Attorney General, and if so, the Attorney General is also responsible for the violation of fundamental rights occasioned by the purported certification of the Bill.

The Speaker of Parliament and the Attorney General are named as Respondents to the Application.

(News 1st)

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