Duties of Ministers and Public Authorities

Do Public Authorities have any duties under the Act?

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  • YES. Public Authorities have a duty to maintain all their records and documents in a proper manner. This means records have to be properly catalogued and indexed for easy, hassle-free accessibility.
  •  If the Commission issues any directions pertaining to properly maintaining its records, the Public Authority must follow the directions of the Commission.

How should Public Authorities maintain records?

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Public Authorities are also expected to maintain electronic formats of all their records provided they have sufficient resources to do so.

Do Ministers have any duties under the Act?

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  • YES. Ministers (of both the Central Government and Provincial Councils) have a duty to ensure reports are published twice every year (before 30 June and 31 December respectively).
  • The reports must have comprehensive information to assist citizens to exercise their Right to Information meaningfully.
  • The reports will be published in Sinhala and Tamil and made available in electronic format to the public.
  • Public Authorities are also expected to maintain electronic formats of all their records provided they have sufficient resources to do so.
  • Additionally, hard copies of the reports will be available to citizens to inspect and obtain copies of, for a fee.

Do Public Authorities have an obligation to report to the Commission?

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  • YES. They do. Every Public Authority has a duty to submit annual reports to the Commission which the public can access.
  • The annual report ought to contain such information as the total number of requests received during the year, requests granted and requests denied, the amount of fees collected during the year and the number of times information was provided at the direction of the Commission. It must also include any suggestions for improving the effectiveness of the regime of transparency, the number of appeals received, and information or practices relating to maintaining records.

Can officers of Public Authorities be held liable for duties performed under this Act?

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NO. Officers of Public Authorities and Public Authorities themselves cannot be held liable, either for criminal matters or civil matters for performing in good faith the duties and/or exercising the powers given to them by this Act. But if bad faith is shown, this amounts to an offence under the Act as explained later.