The Draft Right to Information Bill will be presented to Parliament as pledged under the 100 Day programme of the Government, Cabinet Spokesman and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said.
"This is really a fulfillment of a long felt need of the people and on the other hand this is a fulfillment of a pledge coming under the 100 Day programme of the Government," he noted. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal presented by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to present the said Draft Bill to Parliament as an Emergency Bill under Clause 122 of the Constitution.
"A commission in this regard will be established in order to facilitate the Right to Information. The Commission will mediate to determine on the information that needs to be kept secret. In order to implement these regulations successfully, the subject has been entrusted to the Minister in charge of Public Administration," Mr. Senaratne added.
According to the Cabinet Spokesman, there are certain significant points in the draft Bill since all citizens of Sri Lanka will have the right to information. The right to information means obtaining information that exist in state institutions, and information that exists under its control or its custody.
However, provision of information could be rejected in the under mentioned instances.
1. Information that could affect the privacy of a person due to divulgence of information since it has no connection with a public activity or it is of a private nature.
2. Information that could seriously affect state security, territorial integrity that could affect national security or that could affect international relationships of Sri Lanka, or that could harm the bonds that exist under international law.
3. Information that could seriously harm the economy of Sri Lanka
4. Information that could harm the commercial bonds of a person or that could divulge some trade secret
5. Information that could divulge the medical status of a person
6. Information that are not permitted to be divulged under clause 126 of the Evidence Act
7. Information that needs to be kept secret due to fiduciary relationship
8. Information relating to prevention of some crime or connected with finding out some crime or information that could apprehend some criminals or filing cases against them or that could obstruct such activity.
9. Information that has been determined as to be safeguarded by a state institution
10. Information that could become a contempt of court or breach of parliamentary privileges
11. Information connected with the examination department or higher educational institutions that are to be kept secret due to its links with examinations.