Colombo Telegraph

No Fees For Right To Information Requests

As the Right to Information Act becomes operational today in Sri Lanka after more than fifteen years of struggle by citizens and the media, Colombo Telegraph learns that in terms of the Fee Schedule laid down by the Right to Information (RTI) Commission, no fees can be charged by Public Authorities when RTI requests are submitted.

This is a change from many countries elsewhere in the world where a fee has to be paid at the very first stage itself. The RTI Commission had published a Public Notice on the 29th of January 2017 confirming that its Rules and proposed Regulations had been sent to the Ministry of Media to be gazetted. According to inquiries made, the gazette will be out shortly. Under the Rules on Fees, the Commission has stipulated once a request is submitted and if a decision is made to provide information, whatever information given on 4 (A4 size) pages should be free to all citizens. Charges after that are minimal.

The RTI Commission has also stated that all information that a Public Authority provides on email should be free. Inspection of documents should also be free for the first 1 hour with minimal charges thereafter. Colombo Telegraph welcomes this pro-active position taken on fees on the basis of maximum disclosure.

From today, RTI requests can be filed in Public Authorities including constitutional and statutory bodies, government, provincial and local bodies, corporate bodies funded by the government, educational institutions and non-governmental organizations. RTI requests can be filed even on a sheet of paper with the following details;

Application to receive Information from Public Authorities (PAs)

Information Officer,

01.   Name of Requestor – ………………………………………………..
02.   Address – …………………………….
03.   Contact No. (if any) -………………………….
04.   Email Address (if any) – ………………..
05.   Details about Information requested
I.                    Specific Public Authority ……………………………….
II.                  Information requested ………………………………………………………………………………………………..
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

III.                Specific period information is requested (if applicable)………………
06.   Manner in which information is requested– (ie would you like to-)
i. inspect relevant work, documents, records
ii. take notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records
iii. take certified samples of material
iv. obtain information in the form of CD/DVD/storage media/tapes/video cassettes/ any other electronic mode/ printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device.
07.   Language in which requestor prefers access -……………………….
08.   Does the information request concern the life and personal liberty of a citizen? (Yes/No)
If Yes, give reason for belief – …………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
09.   Any other details- ………………………………………………….
10.   Relevant documents attached (If any)
I.        ……………………………
II.      …………………………….
III.    …………………………….
11.   Is the requestor a citizen of Sri Lanka? (Yes/No)

Date: –

Signature:-

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