The Sri Lanka Medical Council was established by the Medical (Amendment) Act No. 40 of 1998 when the title was changed from the former Ceylon Medical Council. The Ceylon Medical Council (CMC) had been established by the Medical Ordinance No. 24 of 1924. The first meeting of the CMC was held in June 1925 in the Colombo Medical Library, chaired by the first president, Dr. N. Duncan Walker. The other members of the Council were Doctors J.S.R. Gunawardana, R. Pestonjee, E.A. Cooray, J.O.B. Van Langenburg, Lucian De Zilva, H.M. Peiris, P.J. Chissel, Frank Gunasekera and G. Thornton. At this meeting, Dr. Lucian De Zilva was elected the Vice President and Prof. F.O.B. Ellison, the Registrar. Council meetings were held in the Colombo Medical Library up to January 1930, and thereafter in the Board Room of the Colombo Medical College. The clerical and secretarial work of the Council was performed by the staff of the Medical College. An office assistant, a part-time clerk, and a peon were appointed to Council in 1994. At the request of the Faculty of Medicine, the Council shifted in 1971 to the first floor of the Ceylon Medical Association, which later became the Sri Lanka Medical Association. The venue of Council meetings then became the Council Room of the Medical Association. In 2001, the Council purchased a block of land at No. 31, Norris Canal Road, Colombo 10, and laid the foundation stone for the building in December. The construction of the building was completed in December 2002, and the Council moved into the premises in January 2003. The over-arching objective of the Sri Lanka Medical Council in exercising their functions is the protection of the public. To this end, one of the chief functions of the Council is to register practitioners engaged in providing healthcare.



The Colombo Medical College commenced in June 1870 and admitted twenty-five students. They were awarded a diploma of Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery (L.M.S.). In 1880, the College was named the Ceylon Medical College and the L.M.S. was registered with the General Medical Council of Britain without further examination.

The Medical Registration Ordinance was passed in 1905 and persons with L.M.S. (Ceylon) were recognized as medical practitioners and registered to practice medicine and surgery by the Ceylon Medical College Council (C.M.C.C.). Any person registered in a country which recognized this diploma was also registered. The Medical Registration (Amendment) Ordinance No. 36 of 1908 made legislative provision to register apothecaries and estate dispensers to practice medicine and surgery in the government sector on the approval of the Principal Civil Medical Officer, the equivalent of the present Director General of Health Services.

In 1915, the Dentists Registration Ordinance was introduced to register dentists to practice dentistry. Following the establishment of the University of Ceylon by the University Ordinance of 1942, the M.B.B.S. degree and the B.D.S. degree awarded by it were also recognized for registration by the College Council.

The Medical Ordinance No. 26 of 1927 makes provision for registration of pharmacists, and dispensing of drugs and poisons was restricted only to registered pharmacists and pharmaceutical chemists.

The Medical Ordinance No. 10 of 1949 made provision for registration of nurses by the Ceylon Medical Council. This function is now under the Sri Lanka Nurses Council, which was established by Act No 19 of 1988, and later amended by Act no 35 of 2005.

Midwives were earlier registered under the Midwives Ordinance No. 02 of 1920. Provision was made in the Medical Ordinance of 1924 for the registration of midwives. Eligibility for registration as midwives is restricted to women.

The Medical (Amendment) Act No. 30 of 1987 makes provision for the registration of para-medical Assistants. Persons included in this category are radiographers, medical laboratory technologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, electrocardiograph recordists, audiologists, clinical physiologists, speech therapists, chiropodists, dietitians, ophthalmic auxiliaries and clinical psychologists.

The Medical (Amendment) Act No. 40 of 1998 makes provision for radiographers, medical laboratory technologists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists to be registered as professions supplementary to medicine, removing them from the category of para-medical assistants.

The Medical (Amendment) Act No. 25 of 1946 makes provision for the temporary registration of medical practitioners when there is a delay in the award of a degree and subsequent amendment for registration on other grounds. Medical (Amendment) Act No. 30 of 1987 makes provision for persons who are employed as medical officers in government service to be granted registration under Section 31.

The Medical (Amendment) Act No. 37 of 1961 makes provision for temporary registration of medical practitioners, dentists and nurses who are invited by the government to serve the country. This was amended by the Medical (Amendment) Act No. 31 of 1997 where registration is recommended by the Secretary, Ministry of Health, the Director General of Health Services or a Dean of a medical faculty. Registration is restricted for a period of twelve months; the skill and knowledge of the applicant is judged by the Council.

The Medical (Amendment) Act No. 16 of 1965 makes provision for registration of citizens of Sri Lanka who have obtained a degree or diploma from a medical school outside Sri Lanka and recognized by the Council to be registered following a special examination conducted by the Council and after serving internship. The special examination was previously known as the Act 16 examination and is now referred to as the Examination for Registration to Practice Medicine (ERPM) in Sri Lanka.

The Medical (Amendment) Act No. 15 of 1996 makes provision for registration of citizens of Sri Lanka who have obtained a degree or diploma from a medical school outside Sri Lanka and recognized by the Council, to be registered if they were in employment of the Department of Health Services prior to May 17, 1991.

The Medical (Amendment) Act No.23 of 1955 makes provision for provisional registration of medical graduates to obtain pre-registration experience by serving a period of internship. It includes “good character” as a requirement for registration.



The Medical Registration Ordinance of 1905 also makes provision for erasure of the name of a registered person, and the Medical (Amendment) Ordinance No. 26 of 1927 makes provision for erasure on disciplinary grounds. The procedure for disciplinary inquiries currently applicable was published in the Government Gazette No. 757/7 of March 10, 1993.

The Medical (Amendment) Act No. 30 of 1987 introduced the requirement for renewal of registration at 5-year intervals.



  1. Dr. N. Duncan Walker (June 1925 – December 1926)
  2. Lt. Col C. D. Myles (June 1927 – December 1929)
  3. Dr. J. O. B. Van Langenberg (December 1929 – January 1930)
  4. Dr. R. Briercliffe (January 1930 – March 1937)
  5. Dr. S. T. Gunasekara (March 1937 – September 1941)
  6. Dr. S. F. Chellappa (September 1941 – October 1949)
  7. Dr. W. G. Wickramasinge (October 1949 – December 1953)
  8. Dr. J. Kahawita (December 1953 – September 1959)
  9. Dr. W. A. Karunaratne (September 1959 – June 1964)
  10. Sir Nicholas Attygalle (June 1964 – December 1969)
  11. Dr. E. M. Wijerama (December 1969 – December 1974)
  12. Dr. S. H. P. Nanayakkara (March 1975 – June 1980)
  13. Dr. O. R. Medonza (July 1980 – October 1988)
  14. Dr. S. A. Cabraal (October 1988 – September 1996)
  15. Dr. G. C. Uragoda (October 1996 – February 1999)
  16. Dr. H. H. R. Samarasinghe (June 1999 – June 2009)
  17. Prof. Lalitha Mendis (June 2009 – June 2011)
  18. Prof. Carlo Fonseka (January 2012 – June 2017)
  19. Prof. Colvin Goonaratna (September 2017 – July 2018)
  20. Prof. Harendra de Silva (January 2019 - November 2020)
  21. Prof. Vajira H. W. Dissanayake (November 2020 to date)



  1. Dr. Lucian de Zilva (June 1925 – February 1933)
  2. Dr. Frank Gunasekara (February 1933 – March 1952)
  3. Sir Nicholas Attygala (March 1952 – May 1952)
  4. Prof. John R. Blaze (June 1952 – September 1957)
  5. Sir Nicholas Attygala (September 1957 – June 1964)
  6. Dr. E. M. Wijerama (June 1964 – December 1969)
  7. Dr. W. D. L. Fernando (March 1970 – June 1973)
  8. Dr. S. A. Cabraal (June 1973 – March 1991)
  9. Dr. S. M. G. Wijegoonaratne (March 1991 – July 1992)
  10. Dr. W. S. S. de Alwis (July 1992 – July 1998)
  11. Dr. Ananda Samarasekera (August 1998 - May 2009)
  12. Dr. Nanda Amarasekera (June 2009 – January 2013)
  13. Dr. Ananda Hapugoda (February 2013 – June 2014)
  14. Dr. Lalantha Ranasinghe (August 2014 – March 2016)
  15. Prof. Nilanthi de Silva (April 2016 to August 2020)
  16. Dr. S. Shanmuganathan (August 2020 to date)



  1. Prof. F. O. B. Ellison (June 1925 – June 1938)
  2. Dr. W. C. O. Hill (June 1938 – March 1939)
  3. Prof. Milroy A Paul (March 1939 – May 1982)
  4. Prof. H. V. J. Fernando (December 1980 – September 1994)
  5. Prof. P. S. S. Panditharatne (September 1994 – February 2005)
  6. Dr. N .J. Nonis (February 2005 – March 2013)
  7. Dr. H. M. S. S. D. Herath, (Acting) (March 2013 – June 2015)
  8. Dr. S. Terrence G.R. de Silva (July 2015 – May 2018)
  9. Dr. C. L. K. Atapattu, (Acting) (May 2018 to November 2019)
  10. Dr. Ananda Hapugoda (December 2019 to date)



  1. Prof. P. S. S. Panditharatne (December 1993 – September 1994)
  2. Dr. N. J. Nonis (July 1999 – February 2005)
  3. Dr. H .M. S. S. D. Herath (March 2005 – July 2016)
  4. Dr.S.Sivapriyan (March 2013 – June 2016)
  5. Dr.C.L.K.Atapattu (August 2016 to date)