RTI commission responds to incorrect reference in Sunday Leader

RTI commission responds to incorrect reference in Sunday Leader

RTI commission responds to incorrect reference in Sunday Leader
Jun 28, 2017
The RTI Commission of Sri Lanka has written to the Editor of the Sunday Leader informing him of an incorrect reference to the Commission in the Leader of June 25th, 2017 in an article dated titled ‘‘Departments Under Law And Order Ministry Ignore Request Under RTI’ by Ms. Nirmala Kannangara (also carried by LNW).
The article had stated that the RTI Commission had not responded to Ms Kannangara’s email query sent to the Commission.
A D E Bernard, Coordinating Secretary to the Commission has informed the Sunday Leader that in direct contradiction to this claim, he had responded to the email sent by Ms Kannangara (dated 28th April 2017)on 25th May 2017.
She had been informed that that an information officer had been appointed by the Department and had been further apprised that the Commission has been intervening with the nodal agency, the Ministry of Mass Media to ensure compliance by Public Authorities with the RTI Act, No 12 of 2016.
Furthermore, Ms. Kannangara was informed that her email cannot be accepted as an ‘appeal.’ The Commission is bound by Rule 13 (2) of the RTI Rules (Fees and Appeal Procedure) ( Gazette No. 2004/66, 03.02.2017) issued in terms of Section 42 of the RTI which states thatappeals to the Commission may be made only through the medium of registered post or in person. This requirement has been clearly stated
by the Commission in its Public Statements and clarified on its ebsite: http://www.rticommission.lk.
Ms Kannangara was asked to resubmit her appeal in accordance with the Rules on Appeals as provided for. She was also informed that, if she wishes, any further clarification could be sought from the Commission through email or by phone.
The Commission has observed that it is surprising that her article referred to above contains no mention of this fact. The Commission has copied the response to the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) given that the SLPI is engaged in carrying out trainings for journalists on Sri Lanka’s RTI Act and to web media re-publishing the incorrect reference.
In its response to the Sunday Leader, the RTI Commission has also noted that it is encouraging to see that many Public Authorities are complying with the RTI Act. However, it has pointed out that if any Public Authority is found culpable of wilfully disregarding the Act, the Commission will be acting directly in pursuance of its statutory powers, to the fullest extent of its authority.
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