23 June, 2024

Blog

Take Great Care To Ensure The Reach Of RTI Commission Is Not Limited By Future Legislation: IMF Tells Government 

Acknowledging that Sri Lanka has taken important steps to establish the right to information (RTI) and create an institutional framework for protecting those rights, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has, in the eagerly awaited Governance Diagnostic Report released late on Saturday, September 30th, strongly commended the Right to Information Commission (RTIC) for its ‘ability to require government agencies to disclose a wide variety of information requested by individuals.’

The IMF has referred to a ‘landmark case adjudicated by the Court of Appeal which upheld a directive by the Commission to the Sri Lanka Parliament to release information on MPs who have submitted their Declarations of Assets.’ The IMF Report noted that ‘the Court agreed with the Commission on all points and upheld that the RTI Act of Sri Lanka supersedes the 1970’s Declarations of Assets and Liabilities Act of Sri Lanka.’

The IMF was referring to a 2018 ruling by the RTIC where Parliament had rejected a journalist’s request for a list of parliamentarians who had submitted Declarations of Assets and Liabilities. The RTIC set aside Parliament’s rejection, ruling that parliamentary privilege and privacy and a 1970’s law on assets and liabilities will not apply which was upheld on appeal to the Court when Parliament appealed against the RTIC.

‘The extent to which the RTIC is relied upon as an effective means of seeking redress demonstrates the effectiveness of its outreach and the value associated with the information obtained based on its interventions’ the IMF has observed (see paragraphs 94 to 97 of the Report).

Noting however that a ‘number of recent proposed bills have the potential for constraining the ambit of the Commission, excluding sensitive matters from the Commission’s jurisdiction’, the IMF has recommended that ‘great care needs to be taken that the Commission’s reach is not limited by future legislation.’ Observing that these concerns have arisen around anti-corruption and privacy legislation as well as anti-terrorism draft laws, it has been stated that policies and rules must ‘balance’ vital information rights against privacy rights and confidentiality in investigations.

Otherwise, there is a ‘significant risk’ that the RTI regime which is ‘an outstanding example of transparency’ may be stripped of its effectiveness, the Report says.

The Governance Diagnostic Report is part of an IMF review process in respect of countries to which bail-out packages are given after declaring bankruptcy. It is a relatively new addition to IMF processes prompted by critiques that countries are generally driven to bankruptcy by endemic corruption and that extensive governance reform must also accompany IMF aid. This week, the IMF declared a potential shortfall in government revenue generation, stating that no timeline could be set for the second tranche of lending which could only come after a staff-level agreement.

The Report recommends to the Sri Lanka Government  to enhance and enlarge the ability of the RTIC to fulfil its mandate, stating that this was vital for inclusive governance. It is observed that the work of the RTIC is ‘particularly consequential for anti corruption efforts since many of the requests for intervention come from groups that are traditionally most exposed to corruption and the abuse of public power, including women and minority groups. ‘

There is also a pressing need to expand the amount of information that is proactively disclosed and regularly provided by the public sector, the IMF has said, pointing out that though the RTI Act contains many useful provisions regarding public information, their implementation remains uneven.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 2
    2

    It’s a very sad state of affairs ……… when the IMF dictates what we should and shouldn’t do.

    Anyone thinking slavery?

    In Lanka “Independence” means slavery ………. this is where 1948 has got us

    Wonder what 2048 really signifies!

    But then there are happy slaves jumping up and down in ecstasy begging the master to whip them …….. “Master whip me more; I like it!” — Monty Python.

    Native, Do you see any in the mirror? :))

    • 2
      0

      BEGGARS CAN”T BE CHOOSERS.

  • 8
    1

    We are not going anywhere with Ranil …… Ranil is 75 years old, has no children: doesn’t care what happens to the country or the people after he kicks the bucket soon. All he wants to do is, hog the presidency for him and his buddies to have some free rides at the peoples expense. He’s no economic-wizard. He knows only to borrow from the IMF on their dictates …….. and to sell off profit making assets and parts of the country piece by piece. He is an unbelievably selfish prick.

    I don’t believe any Lankan can save us ……. if at all, Lanka will be saved by fortunate accident/coincidence but we desperately need a change to break the SLFP/UNP cycle of the crooks …… deeply entrenched corruption of many decades …… at this stage JVP looks like the only alternative that’s there to put a spoke in the wheel of Ranil’s diabolical machinations.

    Can any of you Ranil supporters/backers be objective and prove what AKD is saying here is false? Thanks. ……….. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yf0EqvnunKk

    Native, is silence golden? ……. Mum’s the word, eh? :))

  • 4
    2

    soma

    Do you think RTI is important?
    If it is, how could I obtain information on those war victims between 1971 to date
    (1971 – 18000, between 1987 – 1991 about 130000, over 30 year … unknown).

    Why doesn’t the state, functionaries, armed forces, Attorney Generals department …. The Commissioner of Archaeology (the digging boss), …. publish their findings on victims?

    By the way here an interview with your distant cousin who happened to the External Affairs minister of Hindia:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-0mx67FV3g

    What do you think?
    If Kaputa is interviewed do you think he is capable of understanding the questions and is able to answer the questions quite admirably?

  • 2
    2

    A welcome development.
    .
    The IMF has a reputation for not caring about means, provided a job gets done.
    .
    However, corruption and disregard by the Ranil-Rajapaksa government for all norms of decency and accountability must be proving too much even for the IMF. So thanks for the noises that you’re making. All of this helps a little.
    .
    Panini Edirisinhe of Bandrawela (NIC 483111444V)

    • 3
      0

      SM,

      Are ye a trichromat now …… after the cataracts were removed?

      Some animals can see only in black and white ……… they are incapable of seeing what others see.

      When it comes to Lankan political-figures ………. some are monochromats.

      Don’t ask me what those words are: I just copied from the web. …….. Anyway, someday I’m gonna sit down and write a book about Lankans’ eyesight. ………. Hope ol’ Rajpal wont claim authorship ………


      I’m trying to drag Native ……. to get his cataracts removed …….. Ah! the excuses he comes up with! :))

      He sees Gunduvind, Shenali, Harsha, Ganasara, …….. the whole cursed lot in bright color ………. except you know who!


      Ah! Lankans! ………. How would we have so much fun, if there was no Lanka and Lankans?

    • 0
      1

      Panini Edirisinhe of Bandrawela (NIC 483111444V)

      I wonder what it would have been if the “Anura-Rajakshe” conglomerate.

      To my thoughts, it would undoubtely be more like the debries of Tsunami tragedy in December 2004.
      Silly public remarks being made CONSTANTLY by AKD and their speakers are even highly dangerous than that of Trudeus in Canada. To our luck, all these are spread in SINHALA langague which restrict to 14 millions or so.

      Why don’t all of you senior citizens in today’s 99% active or inactive corrupt country think about their allegations?
      Is it worth pointing fingers only at politicians who are constantly picked on by the same voters? Members of Parliament are the mirror of a country’s nation if they are elected in so-called democratic elections.

      • 0
        1

        cont.
        .
        We constantly cry about the inadequacy of new laws and reforms to existing legal systems, but at the same time, the entire population is alive to protest when any restrictions are introduced on social media platforms.

        Also in European contexts, there are some restrictions against YOUTUBERs. For example, they cannot abuse their mouth without thinking twice. Video broadcasters are very responsible for their content. Sri Lanka has been misled today by YouTubers of a very irresponsible nature. They misused that system, being close to the LTTE then, taking advantage of the Sinhala-Kotiyan opportunity and working against their own nation.

        This nation must finally change their mindset (as a commenter reader on YOUTUBE videos, I believe, the general knowledge of our people are much lower than appeared to be) with a paradigm shift if our youth are to pave the way for a better future.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.