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Defence Ministry not yet asked to relax security  clearance for marriage

3 months ago

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  • Spokesperson says no official request received
BY Mirudhula Thambiah The Ministry of Defence is yet to receive an official request from the Registrar General’s Department to examine the relaxing of the controversial Security Clearance Report for foreigners to marry a Sri Lankan. “The main responsible authority is the Registrar General. So far, he has not made any request in writing for us to respond to the Registrar General’s Department in this regard. If an official request is made, we can look into it. It is not an easy process,” said Ministry of Defence Media Spokesman Col. Nalin Herath, speaking to The Morning yesterday (6). Registrar General P.S. Prabath Abeywardhana told The Morning on 3 November that he is in discussions with the Ministry of Defence to relax the requirement of the controversial Security Clearance Report for foreigners to marry a Sri Lankan. The requirement for the declaration of the health condition of a foreigner attempting to marry a Sri Lankan is also expected to be relaxed in the upcoming weeks, Abeywardhana said. He noted that the relaxation will be implemented only after consultations with the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Health. Abeywardhana said that discussions are currently underway with the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Health in regard to the relaxation of the said restrictions. He further noted that Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, as the subject Minister, had directed them to look into the possibility of relaxing the restrictions on marriages between Sri Lankans and foreigners.  “Only after the discussions can we consider relaxing the restrictions,” he added.  Abeywardhana further said that the restrictions had been imposed as per the requirements of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Defence.  “It had been imposed for their requirements. Once we relax or withdraw these restrictions, there should be alternative regulations implemented in order to fulfill their requirements. So, we will have to examine that based on the discussions with the two ministries,” he added. He also said: “There is no major issue just because these restrictions are currently in force, because none of the marriage applications have been rejected so far. This year, after the said circular came into effect, 1,701 requests have reached our department, out of which 1,648 have been approved and 53 are pending, which are recent requests.” According to Circular No. 18/2021, issued in October 2021, the foreign party will have to submit a security clearance report and a self declaration of their health condition to the Registrar General’s Department for the registration of the marriage.  There were legal actions taken soon after the above circular came into effect on 18 October 2021. Attorney-at-Law Thishya Weragoda filed a complaint at the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka on 26 December 2021 against the new regulations, which state that a marriage between a foreigner and a Sri Lankan citizen requires security clearance from the Defence Ministry. He also filed a writ petition in the Court of Appeal in December 2021, challenging the same controversial circular issued by the Registrar General’s Department.