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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Appointment of OMP head Upali Abeyrathana as chair person of RTI commission is illegal

Legal sources have pointed out that the appointment of retired Supreme Court Judge Upali Abeyrathna as the chair person of the Right to Information Commission of Sri Lanka is illegal and could be challenged at court of law.

The appointment was made by President Rajapaksa.

Upali Abeyrathna is currently serving as the chairperson of the Missing Persons Office.

According to Section 12 (2) (a) (iii) of the RTI Act, members of the commission should not hold any public or judicial office or any other office of profit.

Here is the criteria given in the Act for selection of Commissioners.

(2) (a) In making recommendations under subsection (1),
the Constitutional Council shall ensure that the persons who are being recommended are persons who-
(i) have distinguished themselves in public life with proven knowledge, experience and eminence in the fields of law, governance, public administration, social services, journalism,
science and technology or management;
(ii) are not Members of Parliament, any Provincial Council or a local authority;
(iii) do not hold any public or judicial office or any other office of profit;
(iv) are not connected with any political party; or
(v) are not carrying on any business or pursuing any profession.

A group of civil society organisations expressed their “deep concerns” about the appointment of its Chairman, retired Supreme Court Justice Upali Abeyratne alleging his appointment undermines the spirit of the law, as it ignores several allegations against him including the alleged abuse of power, most recently in relation to his stint as chairperson of the controversial Presidential Commission of Inquiry on Political Victimisation, reports Sunday Times.

Sri Lanka Brief reliably understands that some civil society groups are  planning to challenge the appointment of Upali Abeyrathna as a commissioner and chair person of the Right to Information Commission of Sri Lanka.

RTI Act Sri Lanka:rti-act-en-13122018

(SLB)

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