Two final Commissioners to the five-member Commission on the Right to Information have been appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena, Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Media, B.K.S. Ravindra said.
The two new appointments are Justice A.W.A. Salam and legal academic Dr. Selvy Thiruchandran, who were nominated by the Constitutional Council. ‘However, the additional two members have not yet assumed their duties’, said Mr. Ravindra, but are expected to do so by early January.
With the appointments now finalized, ‘we can implement the act from February 4th next year,’ Mr. Ravindra confirmed. ‘Regulations have been made and now we are looking at gazetting them.’ Citizens can hence start filing RTI requests from Independence Day 2017.
The full RTI Commission consists of former civil servant Mahinda Gammanpila, and attorneys-at-law S.G. Punchihewa and Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena. Mr. Gammapila was appointed chair of the commission.
The appointment of the Commissioners faced several setbacks in the past few months. Although initial appointments were made in early October, two out of the five Commissioners could not take up their post. These were legal academic N. Selvakumaran and former Supreme Court judge Saleem Marsoof.
The main responsibility of the RTI Commission is to review appeals filed by citizens whose information requests have been denied by Designated Officers.