June 24, 2016 04:28 pm
The Right to Information Bill (RTI) was passed in the Sri Lanka Parliament with amendments on Friday (24).
The long-awaited bill, which was moved in Parliament yesterday (June 23) for the second reading, was passed without a vote, Ada Derana reporter said.
The government accepted the Joint Opposition’s demand that parliament be excluded from the purview of the Act while local government institutions and NGOs getting governmental and foreign funding are included in the Act.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the amended bill was submitted to parliament after extensive discussions with several political parties and civil society.
He recalled that since 2004 several attempts were made to bring the RTI bill to parliament but those attempts were unsuccessful.
The prime minister said that right to information is a right of the public and so the current government took the initiative to push for it.
The government has said that the bill will allow the public to get information regarding the public authorities and it will be an important feature for the government to be responsible at a higher level.
It earlier presented the draft bill to Parliament on March 24 for the first reading, however the Supreme Court in May declared that certain clauses of the RTI Bill violate the constitution and it will need a two-thirds majority in Parliament to become law.
The Court further determined that the inconsistencies will cease to operate, and the Bill may be passed by a simple majority, if amendments are made as directed by the Supreme Court to the Clauses that are in violation of the Constitution.
The government subsequently formed a committee to study the clauses that are in violation and introduce amendments to the draft bill.