How many bar permits do members of Parliament have?

This was one of the many questions filed under the Right to Information Act by Ranjan Ramanayake, deputy Minister of Social Empowerment and Welfare.

Mr. Ramanayake filed his requests on February 3rd, the very first day that RTI was launched. His RTI application inquired how many bar permits, sand permits, and petrol sheds were owned or held by members of parliament, chief ministers, provincial council members, and municipal council members. He also asked how many shop spaces they held in airports and how much land they had obtained from sanctuaries. Mr. Ramanayake is yet to receive a full response to his request. Public Authorities have up to 14 days to accept or deny RTI requests.

Last night, news reports stated that over 100 sand permits in Divulapitiya had been cancelled. (Ada Derana, 10 p.m. Derana News, 8-2-2017).

In India, RTI requests will often cause public authorities to rectify corruption before the request is fulfilled. This occurs because the fulfillment of the RTI request will provide concrete evidence of irregularities in procedures; to circumvent this, action is taken prior to fulfilling the request. For example, a slum dweller applied for his ration card without paying the usual bribes expected by local authorities. Upon delay of receiving his card, the citizen filed an RTI request. Fulfilling the RTI request would show that there was no justification for delays. The ration card was then given immediately.