‘If public interest outweighs need for reservation, information must be released’, says head of Government Information

Government Information Director Ranga Kalansooriya commented on the conditions under which an RTI application may be denied. These are 14 conditions included in Part II of the Act (they are roughly summarized at the end of this article). Mr. Kalansooriya stated that in spite of these conditions, if the weight of the public interest in requesting such information outweighs the need for reservation, then the information must be released.

‘For example, if there was a case of military corruption, like in an arms deal, this is a case of national defence. But if the public interest in the corruption is heavier then the commission can release this information,’ clarified Mr. Kalansooriya.

Applications may be denied if the information requested is:

  1. Personal information that would cause an unwarranted invasion of privacy and has no relationship to any public activity or interest.
  2. Information that may compromise national security and defence, or would threaten international relations or agreements.
  3. Information that would compromise Sri Lankan economy by premature disclosure.
  4. Information protected under the Intellectual Property Act, No. 36 of 2003.
  5. Disclosure of personal medial record, unless consented to.
  6. Legally protected confidential communications between professionals, including the Attorney General, and a public authority.
  7. Confidential information of a fiduciary relationship
  8. Information that may cause prejudice to criminal cases or proceedings
  9. Third party information held in confidence by a public authority
  10. Could cause contempt of court or judicial prejudice
  11. Information infringes on parliament or provincial council privileges
  12. Information that could compromise public examinations
  13. Cabinet memoranda relating to pending decisions
  14. Confidential electoral information

See the Act in full here