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The Practice of Death Certification by Grama Niladhari and the Birth and Death Registration Act: A Review with Reforms

Author:

P. Appuhamy

District General Hospital, Matale, LK
About P.
Office of the Judicial Medical Officer
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Abstract

It is a legal requirement to enter a death in the death register in Sri Lanka. When a person dies under different circumstances there are different institutions and processes involved in getting a death certificate for the disposal of a dead body in Sri Lanka. The key authority can vary from a medical practitioner who has treated the deceased during the last illness to inquire into the sudden death, magistrate, Grama Niladhari (GN) police officer, or estate superintendent. In 1954 when the birth and death registration act was enacted with the available infrastructure at that time the system of death certification by GN was probably the best way for the people of this country. The system of death certification by GN and the Birth and Death Registration Act in our country have many inherent weaknesses. While improvements that require legislative amendments and formulation of policy decisions may take a considerable time period for implementation, there are other short-term solutions which could be adopted to achieve a significant level of accuracy and efficiency from the existing system. It is recommended that the present system of releasing dead bodies by GN should be modified to suit our country’s specific requirements within the capacity of its limited resources than introducing a totally alien system. In conclusion, it can be said that the need to bring reforms to the present system of death registration in Sri Lanka, that had remained static since its introduction, is a matter of great importance.

How to Cite: Appuhamy, P., 2022. The Practice of Death Certification by Grama Niladhari and the Birth and Death Registration Act: A Review with Reforms. Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka, 10(2), pp.22–26. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/mljsl.v10i2.7464
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Published on 31 Dec 2022.
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