Litro Gas, a leading supplier of domestic cooking gas to Sri Lanka has notified a citizen W.K.S. Karunaratne who had used the Right to Information Act to ask for information on salaries paid to top management of Litro Gas and also, the loans that they had taken from the company, that it will challenge the RTI Commission’s Order in the Court of Appeal, the Colombo Telegraph (CT) learns.
The Commission had directed Litro Gas to disclose the information on an appeal made by Karunaratne, stating that the information related to the use of public funds and the public interest. Karunaratne had alleged that disproportionate sums of moent had been drawn by Litro Gas executives during the period of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa Presidency while massively increasing the amount of money that Sri Lankans had to pay for cooking gas cylinders.
It is also understod that the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has filed a legal challenge to the Right to Information Commission’s Order directing the SLPA to charge Sri Lankan information requestors in Sri Lanka rupees instead of United States dollars (USD).
The Order was in response to a Kalmunai based journalist Rifthi Ali appealing to the Commission against the SLPA asking him to pay in USD for information which he had requested regarding the Oluvil Port.
The SLPA had taken the position that its fee schedule (USD) had been in force prior to the RTI Commission’s fee schedule (LKR). However, the Commission had concluded that the fee schedule used by the SLPA was without following the required legal processes under the SLPA Act and therefore, could not be put forward as an alternative to the RTI Commission’s gazetted fee schedule in 2017.
Meanwhile, on October 6th 2022 (last Thursday), the Department of the Police and the Inspector General of Police was directed by the Commission to supply information on PTA detainees to a group of activists who had appealed against the refusal of the police. The information related to number of persons detained on remand orders among those arrested under the PTA, their particulars, their mental state/s and the number of individuals receiving medical treatment.
Also the number of persons who have been detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act; and have been released without bail without filing charges since 01.01.2019, under the afore mentioned categories.
All the information asked for had been refused by the IGP, stating that national security will be affected. That ground was dismissed by the Commission in its Order.
The Commission stated that it was, ‘unable to comprehend as to how the above requested statistical information, including the number of arrestees, their particulars, the number of expectant mothers, the number of individuals receiving treatment and related information, would cause undermine the defence of the State, national security or territorial integrity.’
In regard to the information asked for on the detainees released by the police under the PTA, it was noted that, ‘If persons indicted under the PTA are released, it is evident that such persons have not committed any offense; consequently, the release of information thereto cannot in any way endanger the defence of the State, national security or territorial integrity.
The information was ordered to be released by the police to the appellant before before 28.10.2022, with copies to the Commission. The Commission also informed the Department of the Police that the failure to release the said information on or before the said date would lead to prosecution before the relevant Magistrate’s Court under Section 39 of the RTI Act.
was in If persons indicted under the PTA are released, it is evident that such persons have not committed any offense; consequently, the release of information thereto cannot in any way endanger the defence of the State, national security or territorial integrity.