RTI Commission not fully constituted – TISL
Public sector good governance watchdog, Transparency International
Sri Lanka wants the Government to fulfill its pledge on the citizens’
right to information by appointing the full complement of the Right To
Information (RTI) Commission.
Last week, the government approved the appointment of three
Commission members. But it did not make any announcement regarding the
remaining two places, yet vacant, on the five-member RTI Commission as
stipulated in the RTI Act.
A TISL statement said:
“Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) is encouraged by the
appointment of three members of the Right to Information (RTI)
Commission on Friday, September 30. While the Commission has been set up
by the Act, its membership is yet to be fully constituted, as the RTI
Act states that the Commission shall consist of five people.
“The intention of Parliament in enacting the RTI law was that the RTI
Commission should consist of five members. Such appointment would
entitle all members to attend meetings. Having only three members would
vest sole decision-making power in those members only, subverting the
intention of Parliament, and depriving the Commission of its diversity.
TISL, therefore, calls for the appointment of the full Commission.
“The RTI Commission is arguably the most important component in the
framework set up by the RTI Act. It has extensive powers, including the
hearing of cases on appeal, issuing guidelines on record management,
fees and proactive disclosure, prescribing fees, monitoring compliance,
making recommendation for reform, referring matters for disciplinary
action and prosecuting offences under the Act. Its decisions have
far-reaching consequences for the exercise of the fundamental right of
access to information.
TISL has been greatly encouraged by the passing of the RTI Act and
acknowledges the significant implementation challenges ahead. However,
TISL urgently calls for the Constitutional Council to make well
considered recommendations in order that the President can make the
remaining appointments at the earliest possible occasion, so that the
composition of the Commission may be regularized.”