Colombo: The Right to Information (RTI) Act came into force in Sri Lanka on Friday, a legislation aimed at restoring transparency and good governance in the country that has been plagued by corruption and misrule.
The government had last week gazetted the categories of public authorities that fall within the purview of the RTI. “From today the public can apply for information which they want,” Sankhitha Gunaratne, RTI Manager of Transparency International Sri Lanka chapter said.
“The RTI law is unique in several ways – it overrides all other written law, where there may be contradiction. Furthermore, all information can be revealed if the greater public interest is served by disclosing the information. This applies even where the information sought could potentially fall within the exceptions in the law,” she added.
TISL said it will be filing several public interest RTI requests at the relevant public authorities, seeking information pertinent to open government – including the assets and liabilities declarations of the President and the Prime Minister and a request for the financial reports of political parties from the Election Commission.
The public authorities then become liable to respond to these requests within the specified timelines, subject to a maximum of 28 days. RTI was one of the major reform plans of the current unity government announced ahead of the 2015 presidential election.