Though SriLankan Airlines management had attempted to ‘buy time’ on an RTI application filed by the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka under Sri Lanka’s RTI Act, saying that it will be requesting for advice from the RTI Commission, the Commission has responded informing the Information Officer at SriLankan Airlines that the Commission will be ‘unable’ to advise as requested.
A source from the Guild told Colombo Telegraph that the Guild has been informed that the RTI Commission has pointed out to the SriLankan Airlines that if the Commission elects to ‘advise Information Officers on matters of this nature, it will result in the Commission having to refrain from hearing the appeal as it had already advised or expressed an opinion on the matter.’
‘This is the correct approach to take’ the source stated. ‘Why should SriLankan management ask for advice? It must either give or refuse the information. Then we can go on appeal.’ he said.
He confirmed that according to his knowledge, the Commission had formally informed Sri Lankan Airlines that under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, No. 12 of 2016, the Information Officer, Designated Officer and the appeal authorities have to independently and separately exercise their decision making powers.
The objective of the RTI Act is such in that it confers absolute independence free from any interference proceeding from any authority having even appellate powers such as the Commission, on the Information Officer and Designated Officer who initially exercise original powers.
The RTI request of the Pilots Guild to SriLankan Airlines Limited related to the following;
1. Salaries and other allowances and/or benefits of:
(a) The Chief Executive Officer of SriLankan Airlines Limited
(b) Head of Human Resources of SriLankan Airlines Limited
(c) chief commercial officer of SriLankan Airlines Limited
2. All information related and/or connected to Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) correspondence with SriLankan Airlines Limited.
3. All information related and/or connected to Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) initial entry into an Agreement with SriLankan Airlines all information relating to the Agreement with SriLankan Airlines Limited including the said Agreement.
4. All financial information (including but not limited to profits and/or losses and/or damages) connected to the Agreement and/or arrangement between Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) and SriLankan Airlines Limited.
5. All information related to and/or connected to the termination of the Agreement and/or arrangement between Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) and SriLankan Airlines Limited.
6. All information related to and/or connected to the cancellation of the order of Airbus A350 Aircraft (including but not limited to all Agreements and/or correspondence related to ordering of Airbus A350 Aircraft and the cancellation thereof).
7 . All information related to and/or connected to the cost of personal flying training for the A320 jet conversion borne by SriLankan Airlines and/or any party for the Chief Executive Officer Mr. Suren Ratwatte
The Management response:
Douglas / July 18, 2017
This controversy leads us to an interesting debate on the implementation of the RTI. The Information Officer of SriLankan, seeks “advice” from the RTI Commission quoting Section 5(5) of RTI. The Pilot Guild refutes it by saying that particular section quoted, i.e. Section 5(5) refers only to “exempted” information. The RTI Commission “refuses” to advise, stating that it is left to the Information Officer to decide whether to give or not to give the information asked for. Now who is “Correct”? Obviously, the “refusal” to advise by the Commission indicates the quoted Section 5 (5) by the IO of SriLankan is not “Correct”. In that event, the question arises as to the “capability” and “suitability” of this Information Officer of SriLankan. If that is a (capability & suitability) fact, then how far can the people have any more TRUST of correct implementation of the RTI under such officers. That will drag us to a protracted process of “appeals” & “inquiries” and for how long that will go on will be anybody’s guess. To me this Information Officer of SriLankan is either “incompetent” or “pressured/influenced” to send that reply to the Pilot Guild. This must be sorted out soon in the best interest of implementation of the RTI in general.
Vela / July 18, 2017
In the Department of Pensions, the Information Officer had not acknowledged requests for information or provided the information requested for, despite 3 reminders. When appealed to the Designated Officer,about the Information Officer’s failure to acknowledge or reply, he too had not acknowledged receipt of the appeal, despite a reminder. .Now, I have appealed to the RTI Commission by registered post and awaiting results.
If Public Agencies take this sort of attitude towards the implementation of RTI Act, how can the Public benefit from this Law?
Jagath Fernando / July 18, 2017
Anyone joining public service please note that your salary is paid by tax payers and is not confidential.
Hopefully listed company directors will also start disclosing their individual remuneration to the shareholders through the annual reports.
If you want to keep salary details confidential then please don’t join public interest entities.
Bradley / July 18, 2017
There should be RTI request to see the salaries of pilots, cabin crew and engineeers at Sri Lankan. That way you can see how people has basically passed OLevels are ripping of the ignorant tax payers:-):-) :-)
K.Pillai / July 18, 2017
Buying time is a sign that records are probably not there. Why?
The silver lining is the “change” – the reply was not delivered by White-van Courier Services (Very very very Private) Co.
Upul / July 20, 2017
This is a clear time wasting tactic by Sri Lankan. Back in the day, Air Lanka was registered as a FTZ enterprise to shield it from too much public scrutiny. Now Sri Lankan is trying to hide behind the curtain, pretending not to understand the RTIs requests. Should’nt their over-paid lawyers be able to clarify any confusion. I am curious asto how many gratis tickets have been obtained by the persons mentioned in the request, from UL and other airlines.