Written by Tharushan Fernando
23 Jun, 2016 | 9:08 pm
The Right to Information Bill was taken up for debate in parliament on Thursday.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that no government will be able to conceal information in the future because this gives not only the select committees, but also the general public, the right to obtain information. And 4,000 offices have been identified so far, to implement this.
JVP MP Nalinda Jayatissa noted that Chandra Jayaratne has addressed a letter to the Central Bank on April 19 seeking information on Central Bank bond issuances from about four or five months back
He added that before this bill has even been adopted, the Secretary of the Monetary Board and the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, on the basis of a bill that was only in draft form, refused to provide this information.
“If you are attempting to cover up such incidents through these sections of the bill, I do not think that is what the people are hoping for”, charged the JVP MP.
Minister of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media, Gayantha Karunathilaka noted that past leaders have questioned why you need an Act in order to obtain information. But leaders of that era acted in a manner where they said if you want to know about anything, then ask me.
“I wish to note that this is a major victory for the people, that has been won through the Maithri – Ranil government”, said Minister Karunathilaka and further stated that this is for the general public.
Minister of Sports, Dayasiri Jayasekara stated:
There are certain section that have problems such as the fact that as per section 38, institutions under the Public Service Commission, have been exempted and this presents an obstacle to securing such information, therefore these matters require amendments.
Opposition Leader, R. Sampanthan noted that it is the people who are suffering and sovereignty vested in the people because various institutions exercise these powers on behalf of and in the name of the people.
He pointed out that the doctrine of separation of powers is meant to ensure that these powers of governance are exercised by the different institutions, independent of each other, without any interference from each other and that is fundamental to preserve democracy and it is also fundamental to preserve the sovereignty of the people.
He went on to note that if the people are to meaningfully contribute towards to the preservation of their sovereignty, and the preservation of democrac, they need to be properly informed of all that is happening in the country, particularly in relation to matters of governance
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