Amendment to the Birth Certificate.

post date : 2017-08-01 01:49:13 type : අමාත්‍යංශ පුවත්

Amendment to the Birth Certificate.

The Women’s Charter has provided the mandate for the National Committee on Women to work against the discriminatory practices emanating from the  socio cultural milieu of the country.  The Charter states that  it is the responsibility of the government to work towards the elimination of negative social attitudes towards widows, divorcees, single parents, single women and any vulnerable groups of women.

Removal of the column whether the parents are married from the birth certificate is a matter that has been identified by the National Committee on Women as an issue that needs to be addressed in order to reduce discriminatory attitudes towards women and children. Based on the following factors (below) the members of the National Committee on Women strongly advocates that the clause requiring information on the marital status of the mother should be removed.

  1. The difficulties faced by women who become pregnant as a result of rape and give birth.
  2. The difficulties faced by mothers who become pregnant as a result of being subject to statutory rape in registering the birth of the child
  3. The agony confronted by unmarried mothers  in school admissions of their children
  4.  Impact on the personality development of the child who is vulnerable to harassment and discrimination.
  5. Social stigma that prevails against women who do not wish to, or are unable to provide information on marital status
  6. Impact on mental state of women who may not be able to provide information on her marital status.

The National Committee has conducted several discussions with the institutions concerned in order to raise awareness on the issue and for views on the removal of this column. Discussions have been held with the Registrar General’s Department , Land Commissioners Department, Immigration and Emigration and the Pensions Department.

These discussions revealed that most  countries use a simple format in registering  births without mentioning the legal status of the marriage of the parents. The Pensions Department and the Land Commissioners Department pointed out the removal of the column could be problematic in cases of inheritance and payment of W&OP. Replying to this issue the  officers of the Registrar General’s Department pointed out that in the event of succession to land and in payment of pensions and W& OP, the said Departments could refer the data base of the Registrar General.

Also, it has to be emphasized that the Ordinance  No 15 of 1876  on Matrimonial and Inheritance states that the children are entitled to receive the property of the parents but the legality of the  marriage is not mentioned in the Ordinance. .

The National Committee on Women has refereed this matter to the Parliament Gender Sectoral Committee for further discussion and to arrive at a decision. The Sectoral Committee has requested the National Committee to get the views of the public on the matter and for the Registrar General to submit a complete report on the feasibility of incorporating such a change in the birth certificate. 

The Registrar General’s Department is currently working on developing a data base on births  which includes compiling comprehensive  details of the births that need not be stated in the birth certificates required, for example, for admission to schools or applying for employment. The extended details of the birth will be made available on request in relation to succession to land and for payment of W&OP.   It is also to be noted that hypothetically request for details on registered births may arise as the child becomes an adult.



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Amendment to the Birth Certificate.