In the past few hours, it was observed that a news claiming that “All private educational institutions operating in Kalmunai Municipal Council area declare 14 February as a holiday” is circulating on social media platforms. Posts and the news were published on various social media outlets and websites claiming that all private educational institutions operating within the jurisdiction of Kalmunai Municipality has declared a holiday on 14 February as per the instructions of the Mayor.
It was also shown in the news that this decision was taken as per Kalmunai Mayor senior counsel A.M. Rakib’s request. Hashtag Generation made an inquiry from the Mayor of Kalmunai Municipal Council in this regard.
When asked Rakib said that he took this decision due to several requests written forwarded to him by parents residing in the Kalmunai area and that he has the full powers to do so.
The Mayor further said that according to the provisions of the Municipal Council Ordinance, permission should be obtained from the Kalmunai Municipal Council to run private tuition classes within the jurisdiction of the municipality.
The mayor also said that the municipality grants licenses only to private classes that are run according to proper standards after observing the fees charged from students, and the facilities available etc. Accordingly, following his order, the Mayor further said that if private tuition classes are held on 14 February, the license of the respective private classes will be revoked.
Hashtag Generation inquired from a former Deputy Commissioner of Local Government (Western) at the Ministry of Public Administration Dharmasiri Nanayakkara, Attorney at Law D.M. Dissanayake and Head of Legal at the Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government, Gayani Premathilaka in this regard. They however said the Mayor has no authority to issue orders instructing institutions to not hold private tuition classes on a particular day.
Dharmasiri Nanayakkara, a former Deputy Commissioner of Local Government (Western), who further explained the facts in this regard, said:
“A municipality may issue a license for conducting tuition classes and may specify the essential and necessary services and facilities that must be available. For example, health facilities, environment suitable for education purposes. The Mayor does have the power to cancel the license of the private tuition classes concerned only if the Municipal Council has passed or approved anything related to the prohibition/prevention of classes on Valentine’s Day.”
When Hashtag Generation asked the OIC of the Kalmunai Police about this, he said that he was unaware of the incident.
Access from here to more fact checks done by the Hashtag Generation.