The Speaker Karu Jayasuriya signed the Right to Information Act today (4th August 2016). Accordingly, the Right to Information Act is effective from today. Although the general public can apply for the required information with effect from today, a period of 6 months will be needed, starting from today to begin the process of issuing them. The Right to Information Draft Bill was debated for two days in parliament and was passed on June 24th. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya signed the respective document at his official resident at 8.52 this morning.
The Right to Information Act will empower the public to obtain necessary information from government ministries, departments, state corporations and statutory bodies, local government institutions, NGOs, private universities, Higher Education Institutes and Judicial bodies. However, providing sensitive information on national Defence, international and trade agreements and other vital information on financial sector including banks have been restricted under the new Act. Meanwhile, contradictory statements were made with regard to the signature of Speaker. Addressing the media conference to inform Cabinet decisions held on last Tuesday, the Media minister stated that the Speaker had already signed in the Act. However Joint Opposition MP Dinesh Gunawardana said during a media conference yesterday that the Media Minister’s statement was false.