The RTI Commission announces the launch of its trilingual website on Monday 19th June 2017 – http://www.rticommission.lk/. The Commission’s logo, as unveiled, consists of Sri Lanka centered in the black pupil of an eye commonly symbolizing information, held aloft by a hand.
The website features Draft Guidances on Pro-active Disclosure applicable to all Ministries under the globally acclaimed RTI Act No 12 of 2016. Pro-active disclosure duties specified under the Act refer to information released by Ministers in advance of the initiation of projects and also in general, in regard to the functioning of ministries. These relate to specific details requested to be provided on procurement processes and disbursements under budgets in regard to local and foreign expenses. These duties arise automatically in terms of the law and do not depend on a citizen filing an information request against a particular Public Authority.
The Guidances are due to be finalized shortly and the Commission has invited public feedback on the same. The Commission has announced on its website that it hopes to hold consultations in this regard with Public Authorities and citizens.
Meanwhile, the Commission has heard several appeals against Public Authorities which, as disclosed on the website, includes the Road Development Authority (RDA) and the Panadura Urban Council.
The Commission is the primary appellate body under the Act. It is also mandated to ensure that state, corporate and non-governmental perform in compliance with the law. Failure to abide can result in the prosecution of offenders by the Commission, which is a power not in the hands of many other similar bodies excluding the Bribery and Corruption Commission.
Among pending matters are RTI appeals filed regarding the assets declarations of the President and the Prime Minister, appeals from the North on requesting the foreign travel expenses of Provincial Ministers and reports of inquiries held by the Provincial authorities, and appeals on details of school admissions from the Southern Province.