21 September, 2020

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Sri Lanka Army Claims ‘Internal Procedures’ To Delay Information Under RTI

Reports reaching Colombo Telegraph from the Legal Division of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) say that the Army has been questioned at length by the Right to Information (RTI) Commission this Monday regarding its failure to respond to an information request filed by a female legal officer in the SLA holding the rank of captain (name withheld).

Army Commander

The information request was filed regarding a special court inquiry held against a senior officer (name withheld) who had been alleged of sexually harassing the female legal officer.

The legal officer had filed an appeal to the Army Commander as the Designate Officer under the RTI Act saying that an inquiry was held and concluded after her allegations. But she had not been given a copy of the conclusions or other relevant documents. Her colleagues at the Legal Division say that she had asked for the documents on the inquiry and the qualifications of those who had reached the findings. She was not sent a response. Instead, the Information Officer had informed her that requests for information must be submitted through the SLA administratively specified internal procedures.

In the appeal heard before RTI Commissioners Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena, Selvy Thiruchandran and SG Punchihewa, the Army had been informed that it had two options similar to all Public Authorities under the RTI Act. This was to provide the information according to the request or reject the request strictly under grounds specified in the Act.

The Commission had stated that the Act did not give an option to any Public Authority to put forward internal procedures as a reason for refusing or delaying the information and that the Act does not privilege any Public Authority to do so. 

Sources at the Legal Division of the SLA informed Colombo Telegraph that the SLA had responded stating that it considered itself bound by the RTI Act and had asked for two weeks time to report back on the information request.          

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Latest comments

  • 10
    1

    Good going CT – more power to your elbow.

    Sexual harassments in the army were voiced earlier by FM Sarath Fonseka.

  • 12
    2

    I suppose the only good thing this yahapalanaya gvt did was to bring RTI. And to to stop white vans. Hats off to it for that! But other than that, it is useless.

  • 2
    9

    RTI is part of US strategy to get at the countries they want. that is to create opponents and there by to control. side by side with RTI, govt and every institution including forces should have confidential information that can not be released. US simply does not say whether they carry nuclear missles when their aircraft carrers reach other shores but, nuclear mishap is dangerous to everybody in the region.

    • 6
      1

      We are talking about sexual harassment in the SLA, which is very serious. We cannot and should not hide “internal procedures” of the SLA. A victim must be informed of the conclusion of the investigation of her complaint.
      Many men writing in this forum do not stop wearing trouser just because it is a western dress?

    • 4
      0

      Jimba Shitty, wow all these days you were an expert on the conflict in Lanka, now you have become an international warfare expert. What did we all deserve to be part of this wonderful group, where our comments are being posted beside yours?

      • 2
        0

        Just a waste of time trying to instill some sense into that mutthead, most probably he is deaf, dumb and blind.

  • 3
    0

    Here’s the softy guy who is soft in the head spouting worse crap than the Americans aka our latest visitor, the grinning and portly Tom Shannon. What connection does a sexually harassed army officer have to do with US neuclear weapons? Beats me!

    Can anyone understand what rubbish either of them are going off on? Both are equal crap to me!

  • 3
    1

    Actually this Army Commander position must go to other person not for you. By using many web sites you tarnished his image. Hope soon that real deserve person will get it removing from you.

  • 5
    0

    Brigadier Rajapathirana who was the former Director Legal of the Army had allegedly committed sexual harassments to this particular lady legal officer in his office when she went there for an official matter. As a result of complaining the matter to General Daya Ratnayake , the Commander of the Army at the time removed him from his position and appointed a Court of Inquiry to inquire into the incident. When General Chrisantha Silva was appointed as the Commander of the Army, the said Court of Inquiry was recording evidence. But he appointed Brigadier Rajapathirana , one of the officer of his Regiment (SLE) and one of his best companions in the Army as the Judge Advocate General of the Army ( the most senior legal position in the Army) despite of the fact that his case was still pending. Further he directed the most senior Army Legal officer at the time who gave evidence before the said court of the inquiry against the above officer to retire from the Army prematurely and removed the other senior lady legal officer from her post in the legal branch and attached to the Women’s Corps to do non legal matters. He got the proceedings and findings of this Court of Inquiry into his custody and did not release it until his retirement. Nevertheless he promoted this officer to the Rank of Major General too before his retirement.

    • 1
      0

      Now present commander of the army and commander in chief armed forces (the president) or the secretary of Defence can bring justice against those affected through a independent inquiry panel.

  • 0
    0

    Since Army Chief is the President, the action to force the army to abide by the laws of the country rests with the President.

  • 1
    0

    Sadly no so called Women Rights Organizations are seen came forward to appear this grave injustice.

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