Right to Information



Information, formed as the facts about something or someone. They can be the things happened in the world and country, social, political and economic things, government affairs, education, health, climate, scientific details etc. As an outcome of that, having knowledge of the information given is full of force in day to day living of the to do with man being. In addition, information given is most important to decision making as good effects of the decisions taken is highly be dependent on quality, relevance and accuracy of the information used.

     1.1 History of Right to Information

The need of this right is taken as common from the early month. In the current day world, the right to information (RTI) given is took as having authority as a full of force to do with human right. Sweden is the first state in recognizing this right. During King Adolf Frederick's ruling priest Anders Chydenius was the driving force and author behind the adoption of a freedom of the press regulation that stopped censorship and introduced the principle of public access to official records in the Swedish authority on December 2, 1766.

At the international level united nations universal declaration of human rights, the international covenant on civil in addition to political rights in addition to the international covenant on economic, social in addition to cultural rights identifies right to information just as a human right.

Almost after two centuries other countries tremendously enjoy united states, England, France, Canada, in addition to Australia introduced right to information acts. In south Asian region Pakistan, India, Maldives, Bangladesh in addition to Nepal has enacted RTI acts. Altogether 112 countries have introduced laws to their legal system to secure the right of information.

Additionally, the united nations sustainable development goal 16 has a target to ensure public access to information in addition to the protection of fundamental freedoms just as a means to ensure accountable, inclusive in addition to just institutions.

    1.2 Sri Lankan Situation

In Sri Lanka various attempts were made to draft an act on right to information. For a long period of time government of Sri Lanka restricted public information. First initiation used to exist made in 1994 by Mr. Dharmasiri Senanayake whatever person used to exist the then minister of mass media in addition to information appointed a committee on media legal reforms in addition to freedom. Committee chaired by Mr. RKW Gunasekaran recommended that object over their access to information should exists established. Also, the legal aid commission of the country drafted a certification of the right to information act. However, it used to exist not presented to the parliament.

Cabinet passed a bill in 2004 regarding RTI in addition to presented to the parliament however it used to exist ended with the dissolution of parliament. Then Mr. Milinda Moragoda, minister of justice in addition to legal reforms, drafted the freedom of information act in 2009 in addition to after the 2010 election it used to exist not continued.

In 2011, Mr.Karu Jayasuriya, as a Member of the Opposition, introduced a Freedom of Information Bill in Parliament as a private member's act which was defeated in the Parliament.

In 2015 presidential election mr. Maithripala sirisena whatever person used to exist the common candidate promised to introduce an act regarding rti by through an object belonging to the gentleman, that object being his manifesto. Hence necessary changes were made to the constitution through the 19th amendment in addition to the right to information act no. 12 of 2016 (rti act) used to exist certified by parliament on august 4, 2016 in addition to published just as a supplement to part ii of the gazette of august 5, 2016.


   1.3 Why Right to Information is Important?

RTI is the right to access and obtain information from public officials. This object over here right if effectively used currently exists important in ensuring good governance, improving public participation in policy making, promoting transparency in addition to accountability in government, minimising corruption in addition to misuse of government resources by politicians in addition to public officials.


  1.4 As a tool for good governance

Citizens should exist able to know the rationale in addition to reasoning upon which a government or administrative decision used to exist taken if such decision affects the gentleman or the society. This object over here will increase the trust between the government in addition to its people. In the absence of information, the public will not exist able to challenge decisions taken against them personally or matters of public interest which affect them just as a member of the public.The concept of good governance based on transparency, accountability in addition to access to information. Thus, absence one aspect currently am able to decrease the expected quality of good governance. Accountability in addition to transparency currently am able to only exists challenged in addition to really achieved if the public have free access to information

   1.5 As a tool for Policy and Decision Making

Government policy development in addition to decision making should exists more public participatory. Citizens in addition to civil societies should exists able to participate for policy in addition to decision making that object over there directly affects the communities. They should exist able to access information regarding government policy in addition to decision making enabling them to challenge any lawful decisions. Civil societies should exist able to contribute to the decisions however in Sri Lankan context community currently exists not highly involved. Therefore, ways in addition to means need to find to increase the community participation to make the full use of the right to information.


   1.6 To minimize Corruption

Developed countries have a far better legal framework and more advanced administration systems & procedures to combat corruption. The law may be a key element in addressing corruption thereby strengthening transparency and accountability within the government. The access for information to public is a vital necessity in a developing country like Sri Lanka since public money and public assets are being managed by government organization. Also, there's political involvement in addition to influence in addition to high general public belief of political influence in government functions. Therefore, transparency in addition to accountability should exists high. Citizens should remember regarding the govt information or they ought to have the accessibility to get the knowledge. it currently is important for the prevention in addition to detection of corruption in government organizations in addition to also increases transparency in addition to accountability. The enactment of the RTI act should exists considerably control over corruption. However, the extent to access to information currently exists crucial in reducing corruption


  1.7 As a mean of Development

Information about the govt and government institutes are important not just for the relevant officers but also to the stakeholders and therefore the citizens. Governments are reluctant to supply information about their functions to 3rd party. This view differs from the countries mostly counting on their development stage and therefore the values there are adopting. More developed countries within the west like better to disclose the govt information because the developing countries in Asian and African region are more reluctant in providing government information. this will flow from to the corruption and misuse of public assets is high in developing countries compare with the developed countries.

Through RTI act public could obtain the required information regarding future development projects, plans and also ongoing development projects. Citizens could get the planning, scope, procumbent process, intended benefit, social and environmental impact and will challenge when undesirable Through RTI act public could obtain the required information regarding future development projects, plans and also ongoing development projects. Citizens could get the planning, scope, procument process, intended benefit, social and environmental impact and will challenge when undesirable

  1.8 As a Human Right

Right to information is identified as a basic right. Denial to government information is an injustice to the citizens. Access to information is basic to the democratic way of life. United Nations declared it through their right declaration and thru 19th amendment to the constitution Sri Lanka recognized it as a fundamental right. Therefore, all the efforts should be taken to make sure public have their right to information protected.

  1.9 Right to Information Act

Right to Information wasn't recognized as a person's right by the 1978 constitution and by the 19th amendment which came into force on 15 May 2015, the proper to information has been declared as a fundamental right of a citizen of Sri Lanka. Constitution 14A states that “Every citizen shall have the proper of access to any information as for by law, being information that's required for the exercise or protection of a citizen’s right held by public authorities. Under this provision of the constitute right to information act was enacted on 24th June, 2016

The Right to Information Act No. 12 of 2016 prevail over the supply s concerning the provision of data to other written laws like Official Secrets act, Chapters XXVIII, XXXI, XLVII, XLVIII of the Establishments Code, National Archives act. Therefore, it's a really powerful tool in protecting the knowledge right of citizens.

However, there are some restrictions in obtaining information and government officials can deny the issuance of information when information requested on,


  • Information that is prejudicial to national security and territorial integrity
  • Confidential information under international bonds and agreements
  • Exchange rating or foreign exchange transactions
  • Personal information of a personI.
  • Medical records of someone
  • Insulting the judiciary or affecting its jurisdiction
  • Violation of Parliament or Provincial Councils and Privileges
  • Confidential on trust relationships
  • Confidential by election law
  • Communication between the Attorney General and the public authorities
  • Foreign Trade Agreement

An Independent Commission on the right to Information was established in accordance with the provisions of act mainly for supervising the proper implementation of the act by the general public authorities, issuing special recommendations and general instructions, and training of public servants together with officialdom. Commission has the facility to listen to public appeals for non-disclosure of data which is vital in ensuring the proper to information.

However not many voters are fully utilizing the proper to Information act for the overall public wellbeing. Most of the people are using for private interests of individuals; therefore, the intention of the act isn't thus far met with. it's believed that the general public is unable to get maximum benefit out of the RTI act thanks to lack of awareness of the act among the civil societies. Therefore, awareness of the provisions of the act should be increased among public

However, it's been facing challenges associated with enforcement within the society. to spot challenges of the sensible procedure stipulated within the RTI Act for public authorities and to form recommendations to strengthen the people's right to information. TIA towards minimizing Challenges affecting both the institutions and general public in complying with RTIA pursuing the utmost benefits of the proper to Information.

It has, however, only benefitted personal interests of people , and it's barely wont to eliminate corruption in society. there's a widespread perception in society that the general public is unable to get maximum benefit out of the RTI Act thanks to lack of awareness of the Act among the civil societies.
The RTI Act provides an operational regime to enforce the proper to information (RTI), which was ensured as a fundamental right within the Constitution of Sri Lanka through the Nineteenth Amendment passed earlier in April 28, 2015.
In Sri Lanka , this will be considered together of the more meaningful and positive democratic measures passed during the time.


Scroll To Top