Right to Information Bill was presented in the Parliament (24th March) providing the legal framework required to establish the right of access to information.
Moving the Bill, Minister of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Gayantha Karunatileka said: “Right to Information Bill was pending for a very long time and it was a dream Speaker had. Both civil societies and general public decided for Right to Information Bill, which was one of the key pledges found in President Maithripala Sirisena’s election manifesto. Right to Information Bill is a key priority of the current Government and was highly elaborated at the General Election. Most Importantly, I am privileged to present the Right to Information Bill in this House on the birthday of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, an honest political leader in Sri Lanka.”
Right to Information Bill provides for the Right of Access to Information, to specify grounds on which access may be denied, to establish the Right to Information Commission, to appoint Information Officers; to set out the procedure and for matters connected. According to the Bill, the Constitution guarantees the right of access to information in Article 14A thereof and there exists a need to foster a culture of transparency and accountability in public authorities by giving effect to the right of access to information and thereby promote a society in which the people of Sri Lanka would be able to more fully participate in public life through combating corruption and promoting accountability and good governance.
Chief Opposition Whip Anura Dissanayaka commending the efforts taken to move the Right to Information Bill said: “We consider this Bill important for broadening the frames of democracy in our country. But there were amendments the Provincial Councils have sent. We would like to know more about these amendments what was proposed. It will enable us to study the Bill in depth and to make necessary suggestions during the debate.”
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya agreed to make available the amendments proposed by three Provincial Councils within the next two weeks.