20 September, 2021

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Parliament Writes To MPs Under RTI To Get Educational Qualifications But No Response!

Responding to an appeal filed by a journalist asking for, the educational qualifications of members of the current Parliament (especially the ministers) as well as how many MPs have criminal charges against them, the Right to Information Commission of Sri Lanka has directed the Sri Lanka Parliament to make available that information to citizens.

Speaker

The Commission has dismissed the defence of officials of the Parliament that these details relate to the ‘privacy’ of MPs. Instead, it has ruled that the information asked for does not come within the ambit of Section 5 (1)(a) in that firstly, it has a direct relationship to ‘public activity or interest’ within the meaning of that Section and secondly, as a consequence thereof that, there is no ‘unwarranted’ invasion of privacy thereby.

The RTI Commission has observed that it is of direct comparative interest that, in Union of India v Association for Democratic Reforms [2002], the Indian Supreme Court held that constituencies have a right to know about inter alia the educational qualifications and criminal charges, if any, of elected representatives, as this is an exercise which furthers the citizens’ right to make an informed decision about who should represent them in Parliament. In any event, the public interest in disclosure of the said information is paramount as envisaged in Section 5 (4) of the RTI Act, the Commission said.

The Commission has noted that, ‘it is encouraging to note that the PA has taken the first steps in this regard by writing to all Members of Parliament (MPs) by letter dated 10.05.2021 to obtain information on the relevant educational qualifications, citing requests for information made by citizens under the RTI Act.’ However, the PA has affirmed that not a single MP had responded to the said request to date.  This has led the Commission to state that;

‘…The absence of any response even after the lapse of more than two months since the aforesaid letter is undeniably a matter for concern in the context of the overriding public interest as referred to in this Order. The Commission directs the PA to apprise the Appellant forthwith of any responses to the above stated letter, with copy to the Commission. We further note that, contingent on the said information being furnished, the PA has undertaken to update their website with the educational qualifications of MPs albeit without a specified timeline.’

In the Order signed by Chair and Commissioners, retired secretary of the Ministry of Labour, M Gammampila, senior attorney Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena, activist SG Punchihewa and S. Thiruchandran, Parliament has been told to ‘take requisite steps to obtain the requested information regarding pending criminal charges from elected representatives of the Sri Lanka Parliament and to make the same available of public record.’

The full Order of the Commission can be read here

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Latest comments

  • 40
    2

    What no educational qualifications ? Is that normal to question them today ?
    .
    Why do Rajapakshes behave upside down ? If one would go to a job interview, he or she prove the requirements beforeheand.. Likewise, politicians should have proved their qualifications prior to getting elected by 6.9 millions of voters.
    :
    Election Commission has not done their job well… ? That Deshapriya should be hung by his balls for allow the mess. Who was behind him ? Rajapakshes….. and MEDIA BALLIGE puthas…. today suffering is exponential.

    • 17
      0

      We wish we could know – the educational qualifications of Basil. He has proved, that he is not awre of – C-O-V-I-D
      Please watch the video below
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTyqQsLP5w8

      We should be proud to have produced such MINISTER of FINANCE…… Ronnie De Mel would collapse if he realizes the situation. My elders would rise from their grabs sooner.

      • 4
        1

        Dear LM,
        .
        I have been frank with you and told you that I can’t listen to half an hour of political talk every day. It g
        .
        Yes, this video does have more interesting material than most. I listened most attentively.

      • 2
        3

        This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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    • 23
      0

      If Sri Lanka is a Sinhala Buddhist Republic …….in this picture why is the Speaker of the House wearing Native’s fancy dress party kit ……. with the funny wig and all? …….Anyway he looks a tragicomic figure …… dunno if to laugh or to cry …..

      • 3
        3

        This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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      • 6
        0

        nimal fernando

        “in this picture why is the Speaker of the House wearing Native’s fancy dress party kit ……. with the funny wig and all?”

        While I hear your loud protest about dress code, I need to clarify about people’s appropriate dress sense.

        Do any of the Islamic(?) countries allow their curvaceous women to wear Brazilian Bikinis. Since you travel far and wide I believe you have good taste in clothes and women (especially Chinese variety although they have not much to show off).

        • 3
          0

          “especially Chinese variety”

          Let me tell ye about my Chinese girlfriend, someday …… I have to be careful how I word it ……… don’t wanna let OC steal a march on me ………… :))

  • 39
    2

    If these rotten Miris Kudu buggers are concerned about privacy, they should have stayed at home and stuck to their original professions: illegal sand mining & logging, wine stores, bar, massage parlour and drug peddling. This terrible Speaker is the one who should be kicked out first.

    • 33
      2

      Forgot to mention Ethanol, extortion, and sexual harassment.

    • 20
      0

      Miriskudu buggers are the right hand men of Mahinda Burupakshe yet today.
      :
      Why dont MEDIA stand against them ? 4th pillar is believed to be MEDIA. Srilanka’s media has no life than covering up mission of Rajapakshe buggers. People may feel that GOVT is successful since MAIN stream TV channels dont reveal the gravity of the problems that the nation is about to face soon. It will be another ” Lebanon” in making.
      .
      It is high time drag the siblings to GALLE FACE green and hang them by their balls. for the mess created by their total ignorance and selfish behaviours. Pingutthara community should take the lead. . At least that could give a mental relief to the people .

    • 21
      0

      Ranjan’s words reecho my ears.
      But he is jailed today, while buggers became leaders.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9q2RR6fkw8

  • 33
    1

    The monkeys may not even have O levels. The qualification is how far they can throw chili powder or a chair and how much of filth they can utter. anyway, there are enough “professors” and “doctors” in Parliament too. The public should judge how they became “professors”.

    • 8
      1

      LLM: Also public should judge a “Chartered Accountant” and one time “Governor” of the CBS says: “We successfully paid the dues on Sovereign Bonds on due date”. But he didn’t say from what funds that payment was done and how much our “External Resources” account was reduced.

    • 9
      0

      Cicero,
      Please dont insult MONKEYs.
      Thank you.

  • 24
    1

    “PA has affirmed that not a single MP had responded to the said request to date”.

    WHAT? Not even the “THREE” MPs from “NPP”? For how long they have not responded? Didn’t they get the letter dated 10-05-21? They should have been the FIRST to respond and set an “Example” to others and show how responsible they are to the country.

  • 23
    1

    At least they should have GCE OL No?

    • 20
      0

      WK,
      .
      Wimal Buruwanse and Mirikudu [edited out] are said to have school education upto Grade 10. I think that is more than enough since leadership is even more uneducated. That [edited out] newly elected minister of FINACE was in a problem not being able to pronounce COVID …… can you guys imagine ? He pronounce it ” COVIN”…. [edited out]
      :
      Abasarnayi to SRILANKENs so long the majority would not care much about the size of harm being done by MEDAMULANA pattapal horu.

  • 12
    0

    The opposition members should show the way by disclosing their qualifications & shame those who do not, unless their qualifications are hyped up as well. Anyway, SJB & JVP/NPP & minority parties should give nominations to those with some basic education & no criminal records, pending or spent. I am sure the voting public would be happy to vote for such people instead of known yobs, thugs & convicted murders at the next election.

  • 12
    0

    Even the gate keeper at the parliament would have more qualifications than the most of the disgrace ….but as Ajay given the list where they are expert

  • 2
    4

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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  • 22
    1

    What will happen if all these ‘uneducated’ politicians get a PHD?
    Ask DOCTOR mervyn silva or namal the ‘lawyer’

    • 12
      0

      Namal was dubbed the “synthetic lawyer” – sat for his final law exam alone in a special room with a computer.
      This is a “first” for any country.

      • 2
        0

        Justice
        Namal was dubbed the “synthetic lawyer”
        ——
        The ruling classes in SL are mostly synthetic humans.
        The bible calls them tares.

  • 7
    9

    Even the educated are no better!

    e.g. SWRD, JR

    LOL!

    The problem is structural. Until the island is equitably divided into 3 mono ethnic nations and relocate people, it will be a miserable island.

  • 17
    1

    On the subject of politicos, I came across a good two liner doing the rounds.
    Question: Why don’t thieves burgle politicians houses?
    Reply: Professional courtesy.
    Says it all.

  • 9
    0

    Would this exercise of furnishing Educational qualifications end up like the declaration of Assets?

    MPP are elected by the People therefore the People have every right to know of their Educational qualifications!
    They cant claim that they belong to the University of Life!

    • 4
      0

      Plato

      “Would this exercise of furnishing Educational qualifications end up like the declaration of Assets?”

      Another unsuccessful diversionary tactics away from real issues, keeping the chattering classes focused on trivial things.

    • 0
      0

      Hi Plato,
      That’s a good idea.
      This must be made a requirement every year commencing January of the year and made public.
      This should also include politicians who did not have the use of a vehicle in the 60’s to take a sick person to Hospital for urgent medical care and how in contrast there are few vehicles and other assets at their disposal at present. Ofcourse, times have changed along with priorities of individuals.
      However annual reporting could enlighten the voters at large the stayed growth or instantaneous climb in wealth, even beyond 10% commission could be understood by the very intelligent SL voter.

  • 13
    0

    Poor souls. Excuse them. They did not expect this to be required when they signed (Thumb printed) the nomination papers. Oh poor darlings, they only knew Pajeros or Toyota Cruisers offered. Sin aney!

  • 5
    0

    Just suppose every one of them had genuine honours degrees. Would that make any difference to their criminality? No it wouldn’t, they would just be better educated criminals. What is needed is not a high standard of education but honesty, efficiency, probity.

    • 0
      0

      Paul,
      That may well be so, with the capability and resourcefulness of these individuals. They may well have a piece of Paper qualification too, just as good as any other! I used “resourcefulness”, which indeed they have in abundance and they would surmount the issue, although how they got it or when is very questionable.

  • 5
    0

    The fault is with the voters. None has queried until now, the educational qualifications of those soliciting votes for political and/or other office in the state of Sri Lanka.
    Eighth Standard was the minimum qualification for any post in the state sector – does it remain same now? A height of five feet or more was required, and, a health report by a doctor in government service.

  • 7
    1

    Murder can be a qualification. We have one convicted murderer sitting in parliament and it’s a matter of time before another joins him, this time with presidential approval.

    • 2
      2

      This comment is from my mobile phone.
      .
      I just can’t understand why the moderators have been exceptionally harsh on me.
      .
      All those comments were serious, couched in moderate language; none over-length. I’m trying hard to understand what’s happening.

      @Sinhala_Man, It’s because your comments are irrelevant to this post. Please read the Comments policy:
      8. Keep it relevant. We know that some conversations can be wide-ranging, but if you post something which is unrelated to the original topic (“off-topic”) then it may be removed, in order to keep the thread on track. – CT

      • 3
        2

        Thanks for the explanation.

        .
        Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 48 3111 444V)

  • 2
    0

    Parliament Writes To MPs Under RTI To Get Educational Qualifications But No Response
    ===============
    The parliament should rephrase “only respond if you have a qualification above”” GCE “O” Level””
    =============

    • 3
      0

      Rajash, you are right. How many of those can read to respond??? Very funny indeed. Highly literate citizens electing illiterate parliamentarians to govern.

  • 3
    0

    Having qualification may be disqualification in Lankan politics. The so called qualified are voting for most unqualified crooks to get elected. We also have some qualified VIYATHGAMA who are worser than disqualified. Didn’t ex doctor surgeon say standardisation is good to develop health sector. If disqualified can become doctor why can’t be MP. Though we boast of free education the members in parliament seems to have not benefited from it. May be a reason for Rajapaksas to privatize education. As I mentioned in Lanka RTI is just in letters with no teeth. In many developing countries education, criminal background asset declaration are a must in filing nomination. Looking at GLP and voting public, this can be countered.

  • 6
    0

    Here we go. Thalatha was subjected to verbal sexual harassment in parliament during NCM. Rajapaksa goons hurled verbal sexual slurs at Athukorala and speaker did nothing to stop. There are only 12 female members.

  • 2
    0

    Rajash, you are right. How many of those can read to respond??? Very funny indeed. Highly literate citizens electing illiterate parliamentarians to govern.

  • 2
    0

    Our parliamentarians are too busy in bullying the lady parliamentarians with sexual remarks. May be they should be given counseling to cure mental disorder. Hard up fellows they don’t know how to behave in a parliament and not suitable at all to be legislators.

  • 2
    0

    When we have a thoroughbred idiot as the Speaker what else are we to expect? He does not even take action against MPs sexual harassment complaints. When female MPs complain re: sexual harassment all he has to say was that “I was not presiding at that time”, what a crap! Should he continue to sit in his seat or should he be pulled out of his seat and thrown out by the female MPs?

    • 0
      0

      Believe by now even the Parliament Hansard belongs to the family of ‘manufactured truth’.
      Why cannot the speaker check and act on the Hansard recording unless that is fabricated to delete what was said in the house by MP’s even in his absence as the “custodian” of the parliament – the ‘sacred’ Cows or Bulls acting as low down street thugs which they are indeed!
      If he does not want to be the ‘custodian of the parliament, then boot him out and make sure he vacates his abode and limousine for the incoming after he vacates.

  • 0
    0

    It is a big joke to ask for qualifications from MP’s, If the survey is done I am sure that 75% do not have any qualifications. Their behaviour like hooligans in the parliament proves, Most of them are good at carrying the torch to the Family dynasty. . Even some Singhla MPs struggle in speaking Singhalese language.

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