Information officers shouldn’t be hesitant to respond to requests for facts - Chairman, RTI Commission | Daily News

Information officers shouldn’t be hesitant to respond to requests for facts - Chairman, RTI Commission

Individuals designated as Information officers of the Public authorities should not be hesitant to respond to the requests for information made by the public under the Right to Information Act (RTI), as sufficient protection has been provided for them from the Act itself for anything done in good faith, the Chairman of the Right to Information Commission, Retired Judge Upaly Abeyrathne said. 

He said most of the appeals or lawsuits relating to right to information begins, when the information officers neglect the requests made under the Act or due to the failure of the information officers to respond to these initial requests at the earliest stage possible.  

 The Chairman made these remarks during an event to launch the RTI Handbook for Sri Lanka Police officers held at the BMICH yesterday. The book is a guide to the RTI Act and has been compiled by the member of the commission and Attorney-at-Law Jagath Liyana Arachchi. 

The Chairman said taking into the consideration the increased number of appeals received by the commission on the negligence of the requests for information, it has been decided to take stern action according to the Act against the information officers,  who will fail to respond to the requests for information properly from this year onwards.

The author of the book A.A.L. Liyana Arachchi addressing the gathering said it is expected through this book to provide a guide to the police officers to make use of this Act effectively. 

He stressed that in order to respond effectively and lawfully, the information officers must first understand the request made to them and accordingly identify the information that is available to them to provide. 

 He pointed out that as long as the information officers act in good faith under this Act, they have the protection under the law.  

 A Q and A session attended by the RTI Commission members, Information officers of the Sri Lanka Police and the journalists was also held on this occasion.   

 The e-version of this handbook was also launched by the commission at this event yesterday.

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