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Right to Information appeal could access Bond Commission report

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Internews, Sri Lanka Program Manager Shifan Ahmed (right) presents "4 Key Policies and Reforms, Report and Of Words, Visuals and Inclusivity, Guide" to Right to Information Commission Director General Piyatissa Ranasinghe. Others from left: Constitutional Assembly Secretariat Additional Secretary Yuresha Fernando, National Media Centre Director Jagath Liyanarachchi, and Journalism College Head and Director Shan Wijethunge and  - Pic by Ruwan Walpola



By Skandha Gunasekara

The Right to Information (RTI) Commission could gain access to the Bond Commission Report at the National Archives Department, if an appeal is made, and study the Bond Commission report to determine if it could be released to the public. 

 RTI Commission Director General Piyatissa Ranasinghe made this disclosure yesterday, at the launch of the Internews report on four key policy reforms, adding that Secretary to the President Austin Fernando is bound to release the Reports, minus any confidential information, if an RTI application is filed. 

“If such a request is denied by the Secretary to the President, an appeal can be made to the Commission, and the Commission can access the copy of the report at the National Archives Department and decide whether it can be released or not,” the Director General said. 

He further noted that appeals for RTI applications have increased significantly in 2018, when compared to 2017. “We have received 800 appeals up to June this year. In the whole of 2017, we had only 258 appeals. So far, 95% of RTI application appeals have been resolved in the favour of the applicant, with the required information being released by the institute in concern.”

Ranasinghe was speaking on the Right to Information aspect of the report launched by Internews yesterday.

The report focuses on four key policy reforms undertaken by the Yahapalanaya Government, namely Right to Information, Anti-Corrupt & Bribery, Transitional Justice and Constitutional Reform.

Additional Secretary of the Constitutional Assembly Yuresha Fernando, who spoke on the subject of Constitutional reforms, said that a recommendation had been made by a subcommittee of the Assembly, to include a clause in the proposed new Constitution to hold Ministers responsible for all directives they give to their subject Ministry Secretaries. 

“A recommendation has been made to hold Ministers accountable for instructions they give to their Ministry Secretaries. This recommendation has been made to ensure that Ministry Secretaries have the confidence to carry out their duties properly,” Fernando said. 

In addition, the same subcommittee has also recommended that the Minister of Law & Order only be allowed to make policy changes and implementations, and not have power to interfere in police investigations.


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