May 19, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has received approval from the cabinet of ministers to amend the Penal Code to increase the minimum age for criminal responsibility.
Under the current Penal Code the minimum age of for criminal responsibility is eight years and nothing is an offence which is done by a child under eight years of age.
However, according to the government, internationally, the minimum age of criminal responsibility varies from ages twelve to fourteen and psychologists and other experts have opined that 8 years is far too young an age at which to incur criminal responsibility.
Accordingly, a proposal made by Minister of Justice Wijayadasa Rajapaksha to amend the Penal Code for changing the minimum age for criminal responsibility as 12 years has been approved by the Cabinet.
The cabinet also granted approval in case of a child aged between 12 and 14 years to confer discretion on a Magistrate to determine whether such child has the required degree of maturity to form the requisite intent or to entertain requisite knowledge which serves as the mens rea of the impugned offence.