RTI Commission wants public to view draft laws in advance | Daily News

RTI Commission wants public to view draft laws in advance

The Right to Information Commission (RTI) pursuant to an appeal made to it has recommended presenting draft laws before the public in advance and before the Bill is gazetted.

The Commission has made this observation in its order related to an RTI appeal requesting the draft legislation on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, from the Social Empowerment, Welfare and Kandyan Heritage Ministry.

“In many countries in the region and globally, draft laws are required to be presented before the public in advance and before the Bill is gazetted, in order to obtain public feedback on its contents which is a beneficial process leading to public consensus around the framing of legislation,” the Commission said concluding the appeal.

The Commission highlighted that the definition of “information” in the Right to Information Act of Sri Lanka expressly includes ‘draft legislation’ within its ambit.

The appeal had been filed by Dr. Mario Gomez on December 5, 2017. Gomez had requested a copy of the most recent version of the draft law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (in Sinhala, Tamil, English, and braille if available) and the current status of the draft law.

He had also inquired as to when the draft law is likely to be approved by Cabinet and tabled in Parliament. The Ministry had stated that it cannot provide the draft legislation until it is gazetted.

It had responded that draft amendment of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act has been sent from the Legal Draftsman to the Ministry for observations.

The five-member RTI Commission chaired by Mahinda Gammampila, which heard the Appeal in the presence of Dr. Gomez and Ministry Additional Secretary S. D. Udawatta, directed the Ministry to provide the Appellant of a copy of the requested draft law (in Sinhala, Tamil and English).

“While the draft law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities may be subject to subsequent amendments, the Public Authority is bound to provide a copy of the draft in its current state to the Appellant and there is no requirement to wait until the draft legislation is gazzeted,” the Commission ruled. 


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