How to request information using the Right to Information Act (RTI act)

Posted: 1 year ago

Author: achala

How to use the RTI act (right to information act) of Sri Lanka. Fight corruption in Sri Lanka. Ensure public officials are held accountable.

The RTI act is empowered by the article 14a of the Constitution of the Democratic socialist republic of Sri Lanka. This is on the basis that information of any public authority, including the judiciary, parliament, ministries or their sub agencies should be privy to the general public as it serves the best for the public to have transparent access to information. Information from private companies and information which may endanger public security, health information etc. is withheld.

This article will provide a tutorial on how to use the RTI to request information. 

Steps to request information using the right to information act.

Step 1: Find the Information officer at the public agency you want the information from. You can contact the organization or browse the listed personnel here: https://rti.gov.lk/about-rti/rti-officers

Step 2: While this format is not mandatory, it is recommended to use this format to request the information you need. You may use email or snail mail for this purpose. http://www.rtiwatch.lk/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/RTI-1-information_Application.pdf
The format should include the following.

Title: Application to receive Information Information Officer,

01. Name of Requestor - ………………………………………………..

02. Address – …………………………….

03. Contact No. (if any) -………………………….

04. Email Address (if any) - ………………..

05. Details about Information requested

I. Specific Public Authority ……………………………….

II. Information requested ………………………………

III. Specific period information is requested (if applicable)………………

06. Manner in which information is requested–

i. inspect relevant work, documents, records

ii. Take notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records

iii. Take certified samples of material

iv. Obtain information in the form of CD/DVD/storage media/tapes/video cassettes/ any other electronic mode/ printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device.

07. Language in which requestor prefers access - English/ Sinhala/ Tamil

08. Does the information request concern the life and personal liberty of a citizen? (Yes/No) If Yes, give reason for belief - …………

09. Any other details- ………………………………………………….

10. Relevant documents attached (If any)

11. Is the requestor a citizen of Sri Lanka? (Yes/No)

Date: - Signature:-

Step 3: When the information officer at the organization received the RTI request, they will let you know of the same using a similar format to this : http://www.rtiwatch.lk/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/RTI-02-acknowledgment.pdf

The organization should respond to you within 14 days.

Step 4.: Next the organizations information officer will inform you if there is any payment due for the information to be provided of if it is withheld information. The format will be similar to the following. http://www.rtiwatch.lk/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/RTI-04-Decision_to_Provide_Information.pdf.

If the request is reject, they should inform the reason using a format like this: http://www.rtiwatch.lk/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/RTI-05-Rejection_of_Information_Request.pdf

The organization should respond to you within 14 days.

Step 5. If the provided information is not satisfactory, you can appeal to the information officer again. If information is not provided, you can also appeal to the RTI commission within 2 months of the decision of the information officer, or if the comission also fails to the court of appeal within 1 month from the descision of the comission. 

Learn more at: http://www.rtiwatch.lk/how-to-use-rti/#eluid373ecc36_0

Best practices: http://www.rtiwatch.lk/how-to-use-rti/#eluid373ecc36_0

The RTI can be used by any citizen irrespective of caste, creed, faith, station or standing. It is a right you must use to ensure the public services are working as per the law of the land, for the benefit of our citizens and your self. 

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