Review of Sri Lanka's RTI Regime

08 Jan 2018

The recognition of the right of access to information as a fundamental right of the people, after years of advocacy and lobbying by interested parties, symbolizes a commitment on the part of the Sri Lankan state and its people to put the country on a path towards transparent, inclusive and participatory governance. 

The Sri Lankan RTI legal framework is ranked 3rd in the Global Right to Information Rating by the Centre for Law and Democracy in Canada. The success of the Sri Lankan RTI legal regime would depend on the efficient and effective supply of information by the State and those other entities covered by the Act, and its use by the people to demand transparency and accountability in governance.

Despite the constitutional recognition of the right and the subsequent enabling legislation, much remains to be done in order to fully operationalize this legislative framework. A significant challenge in this regard is the multitude of existing legislation in conflict with the provisions of the RTI Act and some of which could potentially limit the scope of the right.

This report contains an analysis of the legislative provisions which ostensibly conflict with the provisions of Article 14A of the Constitution and the RTI Act (hereafter collectively referred to as the RTI regime). The report also briefly explores the Sri Lankan judiciaries approach to the Right to Information and the potential difficulties and questions the judiciary will have to respond to when dealing with cases relating to the RTI regime. 

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