General Information

It is the fundamental right to access the information held by public authorities (mainly government).

Only those holding Sri Lankan citizenship could request for information. There is no age limit to access information.

Any material recorded in any form including records, documents, memos, emails, opinions, advice, press releases, circulars, orders, log books, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, correspondence, memorandum, draft legislation, book, plan, map, drawing, diagram, pictorial or graphic work, photograph, film, microfilm, sound recording, video tape, machine readable record, computer records and other documentary material, regardless of its physical form or character and any copy of them.

Any body, office or institution or department established by the Constitution or other written law, and private organisation or authority licensed by the government or carrying out a public function or service.
(CLICK HERE TO READ RTI ACT SEC:43)

Examples : Ministries, government departments, public corporations, local government authorities, police, courts and tribunals, companies established by the Companies Act 2007 in which the state or public corporations or state and public corporations hold more than 25% of shares, publicly funded higher education institutes, private education institutes which are authorized by the government or publicly funded to some extent, etc.

The officer in the public authority who is responsible to give you the information you request.

The officer in the public authority to whom you could appeal to if the information officer refuses to give you requested information.

The authority set up to appeal against a decision of the Designated Officer.

Examples : what criteria has been used in selection for a job vacancy, the number of marks received at a job interview, why was your child refused admission to school, etc.

You can request for any information. But your request maybe denied based on the following grounds.

Any personal information which is not in public interest, which may undermine national security and national relations with states, cause prejudice to the economy of Sri Lanka, information of commercial confidence, any personal medical records, confidential information of a fiduciary relationship, information that may cause prejudice to criminal cases or national security, third party information, information that may constitute  contempt of court or cause prejudice to judicial independence, parliamentary privileges or privileges of a Provincial Council under law, and information cause harm to the integrity of examinations, certain information relating to an election and cabinet memoranda where decisions have not been taken are the different types of information that will not be available to the public.

(CLICK HERE TO READ RTI ACT SEC.5(1))

Yes. The RTI Act and the Rules and Regulations published in Extraordinary Gazette No. 2004/66 provides for the proactive disclosure of information. This means that certain types of information must be routinely disseminated by public authorities without citizens having to request for them. Such information must also be updated regularly.

Information on the initiation of projects, budget information, institutional information, decisions and acts, open meetings information are some of them. -  Regulation No. 20(1)  of Gazette  and S.8(1)-(2) and S.9(1)(a) RTI Act

(CLICK HERE TO READ RTI ACT SEC:8(1)-(2))

(CLICK HERE TO READ RTI ACT SEC:9(1)(a))

Yes. If the information disclosed under the principle of proactive disclosure is improper and/or false and/or has not been updated, a citizen could complain to the Head or the CEO of the relevant authority. - Regulation No. 20(4)  of Gazette

Process

Make a written request to the Information Officer of the relevant public authority. You may use the RTI 01 Form or as a letter. Requests may be made verbally or through email or fax. In such a case, the Information Officer must fill in an RTI 01 Form for you. Include the format and language you need the information in. - Regulation No. 4(1)  of Gazette /S.24(1) RTI Act

(CLICK HERE TO READ RTI ACT SEC:24(1))

If your information relates to the life and personal liberty of a citizen then state so in the written request, and you are entitled to receive the information within 48 hours. - Regulation No. 3(5)  of Gazette

No. The Information Officer must provide reasonable assistance to a citizen free of charge. S. 23(2) and S.24(2) RTI Act /Regulation No. 4(1) of the Gazette

(CLICK HERE TO READ RTI ACT SEC:23(2))

(CLICK HERE TO READ RTI ACT SEC:24(2))

The fee may be prescribed by the relevant public authority. If not prescribed, then the fee schedule in the Extraordinary Gazette No. 2004/66 will apply. S.25(1) RTI Act /Regulation No. 3(3) of the Gazette.

(CLICK HERE TO READ RTI ACT SEC:25(1))

Yes. The first four pages of a photocopied document or printed document will be free of charge. Information which is ordinarily available free of charge will also be available for free.

The RTI Commission may also specify the circumstances in which information may be provided by an information office without a fee. S.25(4) (1)

(CLICK HERE TO READ RTI ACT SEC:25(4) (1))

Yes. You should ensure the Information Officer gives you a receipt once your requested has been made. S.24(3) RTI Act/ Regulation No. 5 of the Gazette

(CLICK HERE TO READ RTI ACT SEC:24(3))

  • If the information could be given immediately, then the Information Officer would do so.
  • The Information Officer must either accept or refuse to give you information within 14 working days of date you receive the receipt for your request. 25(1) RTI Act/Regulation No. 3(3) of the Gazette
  • The Information Officer should grant the information requested within 14 days (inclusive of non-working days) of the date it is decided to grant information. If you have requested a large quantity of information or if it is difficult to access that information, then an additional 21 days may be taken for the task. 25(5)(a) and S.25(5)(b) RTI Act
  • If the information relates to the life and personal liberty of a citizen then, information must be granted within 48 hours. 25(3) RTI Act

(CLICK HERE TO READ RTI ACT SEC:25)

Upon receiving a receipt for your request for information, you could use the receipt to follow-up. If you do not receive any response within the assigned time limits, appeal to the Designated Officer.

When requesting information you can request for it to be certified. Providing inaccurate information is an offence under S. 39(1)(a) of the RTI Act. In such an instance you could make a complaint to the Commission and ask for a prosecution.

(CLICK HERE TO READ RTI ACT SEC:39(1))

 

Appeals

  • Make an appeal to the Designated Officer within 14 days of your request being rejected. 31(1) RTI Act
  • If for a reason beyond your control you exceed the time frame given above to appeal, the Designated Officer may consider your appeal a reasonable delay and accept it. 31(1) RTI Act
  • The decision for the appeal must be given within 3 weeks.31(3) RTI Act
  • If such decision is not given or is refused, you can appeal to the Commission within 2 months.32(1)(a) RTI Act
  • The Commission must within 30 days affirm, vary or reject the decision of the Information Officer or Designated Officer. 32(1)(b) RTI Act
  • If you’re not satisfied with the Commission’s decision you could appeal to the Court of Appeal. 34(1) RTI Act

(CLICK HERE TO READ RTI ACT SEC:31)

(CLICK HERE TO READ RTI ACT SEC:32)

(CLICK HERE TO READ RTI ACT SEC:34)

Yes. Since the right to information is a fundamental right, you can make an application to the Supreme Court for a violation or imminent violation of your right in relation to another fundamental right.

Yes. You can make a complaint to the Commission under the following circumstances. S.31(4)  RTI Act

The Information Officer (Regulation No. 3(6) of the Gazette ) or the Designated Officer,

  • does not accept your request for information
  • refuses to give you information without reason
  • charges you excess fees
  • fails to act on a request for information according to the Act
  • deliberately refuses an appeal by no reason in the Act
  • without reasonable reason fails to make a decision on the appeal before the expiry of the time frame

The Commission will direct the relevant disciplinary authority to take the necessary disciplinary action for your complaint. The disciplinary authority must submit a report on it to the Commission within 1 month.

(CLICK HERE TO READ RTI ACT SEC:31(4))

Yes. If an offence mentioned in the Act is committed the alleged offender can be prosecuted in a Magistrates Court. If the alleged offender is convicted by summary trial the offender will be liable to,

  • a fine not exceeding Rs. 50,000.00 OR
  • an imprisonment not exceeding 2 years OR
  • both the fine and imprisonment mentioned above

These offences are as follows,

  • deliberately obstructs or provides incorrect, incomplete or inaccurate information
  • destroys, invalidates, alters or conceals information
  • refusing or failing to appear before the Commission when called upon
  • appears before the Commission, but refuses to be examined or produce information
  • fails or refuses to comply with a decision of the Commission
  • obstruction of the work of the Commission
  • not enforcing a decision made by the Commission

S.39(1) RTI Act 

(CLICK HERE TO READ RTI ACT SEC:39(1))

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