4 February, 2023

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RTI Act Used On Tear Gas And Litro Gas By ‘Aragalaya’ Protestors! 

The Sri Lanka Police Department, on Thursday September 1st 2022, agreed to provide information to a group of Sri Lanka’s leading ‘Aragalaya protestors on the quantity of tear gas brought to Sri Lanka during January 1st 2020 – January 1st 2022 and money expended for that purpose, all documentation, tender documents, procurement committee reports etc. 

This was during a hearing before the Right to Information Commission where the Police Department had told the protestors that they had dispensed with the relevant documents as they were more than five years old. 

Commissioners Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena and Jagath Liyana Arachchi questioned the police at length as to why the Department had given contradictory and different explanations to refuse the information in the three information requests filed by the Centre for Society and Religion. 

It was pointed out that the excuse of not having documentation or of destroying documentation cannot be done lightly as the internal circulars of the Department of the Police themselves prohibit this and further, that Section 7 (3) of the RTI Act prohibits destroying new records created from the year, 2017, for 12 years from that year.           

Commissioners referred to a previous Order  of 28th July 2022 issued by Chairman and Commissioners of the RTI Commission, Upaly Abeyratne, Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena and Jagath Liyana Arachchi in which the Department of the Police had admitted that there was no legal grounds under the RTI Act to refuse the information in relation to another information request.

Journalists and activists who had suffered health repercussions as a result of what they alleged were expired tear gas used on them, had also asked for details of safety checks on the tear gas brought to Sri Lanka which had been refused by the police on the basis of national security. The Commission called upon the Inspector General of Police to strictly justify their denial to give the information based on national security. The appeal is ongoing.

Thursday’s hearing followed an Order handed down by the RTI Commission on Monday August 29th  where information was directed to be released in a different ‘gas’ matter. This was in response to a citizen, WKS Karunaratne asking for details of salaries of top management of LITRO Gas together with the amount of loans taken by them. He had filed an appeal to the Commission against the refusal of LITRO Gas to give the information, stating that, the salaries and allowances of LIRO’s employees have been ‘immensely increased’, violating government policies imposed to protect the public money which attracts the public interest.

Mr Karunaratne also stated that, both the salaries and the amounts of loans taken by the employees of the Public Authority, ‘finally should be paid by the general public who consumes LP Gas…’with the increase in the selling price of LP Gas in the market.  

In its Order available here, the Commission stated that, ‘the Public Authority is a leading provider of domestic cooking gas to the public in Sri Lanka, functions on public funds and utilises the same for the information asked’, which should be released before September 28th 2022. The Commission had earlier dismissed an objection brought by lawyers appearing for LITRO Gas that, it did not fall within the ambit of a Public Authority in the RTI Act. 

LITRO Gas has been warned that failure to comply with the Order will result in the Information Officer and the Public Authority being prosecuted before the relevant Magistrate’s Court under Section 39 of the Right to Information Act No. 12 of 2016.      

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Latest comments

  • 7
    1

    GoSL in most occasions aren’t inclined to release informations that affects their interests. They try to to take cover under National confidentiality /security etc etc. What about the informations on —White Flag incident in May 2009/ Forced disappearances etc etc

    • 3
      4

      Did anyone request specific information?
      Probably someone did.
      But without reference to such request and refusal to respond, it will be of no use to moan.

      • 1
        4

        Enough Aragalaya Romance and Hagiography! This is all a distraction from the Economic Crisis, which is what is affecting ordinary people.
        It is now clear that the Colombo 7 NGO funded Aragalaya was used and is Still being used by CIA and NED funded outfits to Divide and Distract from the IMF and Washington Consensus Regime Change operation to COLONIZE Sri Lanka and asset strip the country.
        Why is there is no discussion by Aragalaya fold of the need for Transparency on IMF agreements?!
        Aragalaya leaders like Pathum Kerner support the IMF, but we have never heard of protestors who support the Washington consensus anywhere else in the world!
        Aragalaya and Kishali Pinot should focus on the Demand and the need for Information on the IMF Debt Sustainability Analysis, Staff level Agreement, and the Lazard Reports and all the secret discussions! Aragalaya is a waste of time and NED funded and promoted via social media and academic think tanks too..!

        • 0
          0

          Dear Dinuk.
          Why not you complain to and demand from the RTI Comm on :
          …. the need for Information on the IMF Debt Sustainability Analysis, Staff level Agreement, and the Lazard Reports and all the secret discussions!… That is the start.

  • 9
    1

    Hip hip hooray for RTI and its Commissioners

    • 5
      1

      Information are available but what happned to the sugar and garlic scam by Bandula Gunawardnam he is the high spokesperson still ,,Wickramasingam dosent bother he wants to be Mr nice like golf club member

  • 9
    0

    What expiry date?
    What system?

    Who is bothered?

    The Rajapakshas have wiped out what ever remnant of a system we had before they came to power.

    Ranil is still under Rajapaksha power.

  • 12
    2

    There is a discernible strengthening of the trend to transparency and democracy in Sri Lanka.
    This is very good. It must become irreversible.

    • 0
      5

      ARAGALAYA, gone with the wind. Lets the dogs bark but the caravan still going. Everyone knows even the international community also knows now Aragalaya, “pus weddillak”

  • 1
    0

    The fact that Gotabaya was the first Director of the TID and jailed/sent for “rehabilitation”,
    hundreds of Tamil Citizens without any admissible proof is forgotten. Some are still in prison. This does/did not, bother any government.
    All JVP members were released after the rebellion though they had executed hundreds including university teachers and public servants.

  • 2
    0

    Thiru Nadesan $130M in one account how does he made that ,and what resources, now they wants to take action against undiyal

  • 1
    0

    The No:1 protector of crooked Rajapaksas & their stooges is Ranil W.
    It’s a joke for him to say that he had saved the constitution and the Parliament in SL. As long as the Media is in the hands of the Rajapaksas’ STOOGES the country WILL not be getting news that is truthful.
    Same goes with Judiciary/Defence

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