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Transparency International Sri Lanka v. Presidential Secretariat (RTIC Appeal/06/2017)

Appellant: Transparency International, Sri Lanka
Public Authority: Presidential Secretariat
Appeal Part Heard On: June 19th, 2017

Appellant (TISL) represented by:

Mr. Asoka Obeysekera, Director - TISL
Mr. Gehan Goonetilleka, Board Member - TISL as legal counsel
Ms. Sankhitha Gunaratna, Manager, RTI
Ms. Priyadarshini Paulraj, Programme Officer - TISL

Public Authority (Presidential Secretariat) represented by:

Ms. Lakshmi Jayawickrema, Attorney-at-Law, Additional Secretary to the President (Legal) (representing the Designated Officer, Secretary to the President)
Mr. B.K.S. Ravindra, Additional Secretary to the President

Additional Secretary to the President (Legal) requests for time to obtain legal representation for the Public Authority given the complex matters of law in issue.

The Commission queries from the Appellant whether any objection is being raised to this request. The Appellant responds that there is no objection on their part. The Commission accedes to the request made by the Public Authority.

Further, the Commission considers the failure on the part of the Appellant to plead the fact of citizenship as required by Section 3 (1) of the RTI Act, No. 12 of 2016 read with Section 43 of the said Act. Section 3 (1) of the RTI states that “Subject to the provisions of Section 5 of this Act, every citizen shall have a right of access to information which is in the possession, custody or control of a public authority.” Section 43 defines a ‘Citizen’ as “a body whether incorporated or unincorporated, if not less than three-fourths of the members of such body are citizens.”

In the instant case the fact of the organisation coming within the ambit of Section 43 of the RTI Act in re the requisite membership has not been averred before the Public Authority in the information request filed on 3rd February 2017, before the Designated Officer, or before the Commission at the second stage of Appeal with the relevant documentation to establish that fact.

Preliminary Questions of Law for Determination of the Commission: - Written submissions called for regarding the below two preliminary questions of law by the Appellant and the Public Authority to be filed two weeks before the next date of hearing i.e. August 8th, 2017;

  1. Whether the requirement of averment of citizenship on the part of the information requestor in terms of Section 3 (1) of the RTI Act No.12 of 2016 read with Section 43 of the said Act is a mandatory requirement?
  2. Is the said requirement a fatal irregularity or a curable defect at the second stage of appeal before the Commission?

The hearing of the appeal is adjourned for Continuation in order for the Commission to determine the aforesaid two preliminary questions of law and in accordance with the request of the Additional Secretary to the President (Legal) to obtain legal representation for the Public Authority for August 8th, 2017.

Next date of hearing: August 8th, 2017

 

Transparency International Sri Lanka v. Prime Minister’s Office (RTIC Appeal/05/2017)

Appellant: Transparency International Sri Lanka
Public Authority: Prime Minister’s Office
Appeal Part-Heard on: June 12th, 2017 

Appellant (TISL) represented by:

Mr. Asoka Obeysekera, Director - TISL
Mr. Gehan Goonetilleka, Board Member - TISL as legal counsel 
Ms. Sankhitha Gunarathna, Manager, RTI

PA (PMO) represented by:

Mr. Saman Ekanayake: Secretary to the Prime Minister
Ms. Bimba Tillekeratne (President’s Counsel): Additional Secretary (Legal Affairs), PMO
Ms. Hashini Jayasekera : Information Officer, PMO

Matter fixed for Continuation of Appeal on August 8th, 2017 in order for the PMO to obtain legal representation from the Department of the Attorney General. 

Next date of hearing: August 8th, 2017

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rtiWelcome to the website of the Right to Information Commission of Sri Lanka. The Right to Information Commission is an independent statutory Commission established under the Right to Information Act, No. 12 of 2016. It has an important role in championing the right to information among citizens and fostering a disclosure friendly administrative culture among public authorities covered by the RTI law. You can learn more about Your Right to Information and the work of the Commission here.

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