(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – The Court of Appeal has ruled that provisions of the Right to Information Act are applicable to the Members of Parliament in respect of the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Law No. 1 of 1975 and they are bound by law to submit statements of assets and liabilities.
This order has been issued by the Appellate Court bench consisting of Judges Sampath Abeykoon and P. Kumaran Ratnam confirming a decision given by the Rights to Information Commission to release a list of the names of the Members of Parliament who submitted the statements of assets and liabilities.
Issuing the order, Judge of the Court of Appeal, Sampath Abeykoon, has declared that the Members of Parliament are a group appointed by the public and maintained by the public and they are bound by law to declare their assets and liabilities.
Pointing out that not declaring assets and liabilities is an offense in law, the judge has informed that a magistrate has the ability to impose a prison sentence not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding one thousand rupees or both for failure to declare assets and liabilities.
On June 21, 2018, journalist Chamara Sampath sent a letter to the General Secretary of the Parliament and requested to issue a list of the names of the Members of Parliament whose assets and liabilities have been declared.
But the request was rejected by the Secretary General of the Parliament and journalist Chamara Sampath submitted a complaint to the Right to Information Commission.
The Right to Information Commission, which investigated the complaint, ordered the Information Officer of the Parliament to release the information requested by the complainant.
The Secretary General of the Parliament has filed an appeal before the Court of Appeal against the Commission’s decision.
The Court of Appeal, which announced the decision after a lengthy hearing, stated that the facts contained in this petition are baseless.
Accordingly, it has been stated in the judgment that confirming the order given by the Information Commission on 02 February 2021 to release the asset and liability statements, the appeal of the Secretary General of the Parliament is rejected.