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Sri Lanka RTI Bill Needs Two Thirds Majority – SC; Five Sections Inconsistent With Constitution

The Supreme Court has apprised the Parliament some sections of the Right to Information bill are not consistent with the constitution thus it needs a two third majority, the Speaker announced today.

The observation was made when this was discussed at today’s Parliament section, Ada Derana reporter said.

The Speaker has also said it required a two third majority in the Parliament to pass the bill.

The Right to Information draft bill was presented to Parliament by Minister of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Gayantha Karunathilaka on March 24.

The bill had received positive responses from all nine provinces to go ahead. In terms of Article 153 (g) of the Constitution the Right to Information Bill was submitted to Provincial Councils for views which has been responded positively.

The bill provides for the specific grounds on which access may be denied, the establishment of the right to Information Commission, setting out the procedures for obtaining information and for matters connected.

The introduction of the Right to Information Act was a key pledge in the 100-day work programme of the government.

Five sections of Bill inconsistent with constitution

The Supreme Court informed Parliament that five sections of the Right to Information Bill were inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution and a two thirds majority of Parliament was needed for approval of the Bill.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday after reading out the speakers announcements told the House that he had been informed by the Supreme Court that the Section 5(1) A of the Bill was inconsistent with Sections 3,4,12 (1) and 14 (a) 1 of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court decided that Sections 9(2) A, 19, 43 (a) and 43 (o) of the Bill were inconsistent with the Sections 3,4, 12(1), 14, and 55 of the Constitution.

The Speaker also announced that due to these reasons, a special majority of two thirds of votes were needed to pass the Bill in its present form. Speaker Jayasuriya announced that however, the Supreme Court

had permitted the passing of the Bill with a simple majority of the House if the sections inconsistent with the constitution would be amended in a manner to remove the inconsistencies.


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