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Freedom of Information Act (No. 9 of 1994)

The Freedom of Information Act promotes maximum disclosure of information in the public interest, guarantees and facilitates the right of access to information of every person and provides for effective mechanisms to secure that right.

Right to access information (Part III, section 9)

Every person shall have a right to obtain access in accordance with this Act to a document of a Ministry or prescribed authority, other than an exempt document.

Obligated entities (Part I)

“Minister” means the Minister who has been assigned responsibility under the Constitution for information; “Ministry” means a Ministry of the Government and includes a Minister, Minister of State and officers and servants of that Ministry; “prescribed authority” means a local authority, a public statutory corporation, or a body established for a public Purpose; “principal officer” means (a) in relation to a Ministry, the Permanent Secretary of that Ministry, (b) in relation to a Department, the Head of that Department, and (c) in relation to a prescribed authority the chief executive officer or other similar officer of that authority;  among others.

Time limits to provide the information (Sections 16)

Not later than two weeks after the day on which the request is received.

Active transparency (Part II)

The responsible Minister or principal officer of a Ministry or prescribed authority shall publish certain documents and information such as a statement setting out particulars of the organization and functions of the Ministry or prescribed authority, indicating the decision-making powers and other powers affecting members of the public that are involved in those functions; and a statement of the categories of documents that are maintained in the possession of such Ministry, or prescribed authority. 

Oversight body (Section 35 (2))

The Ombudsman has power to review any decision that has been made by a Ministry or prescribed authority in respect of the request and to decide any matter in relation to the request. Any decision of the Ombudsman has the same effect as a decision of the Ministry or prescribed authority. 

Appeal procedures (Sections 35 (1) and 43)

Application may be made to the Ombudsman for review of a decision refusing to grant access to a document. Any party dissatisfied with a decision of the Ombudsman may appeal to the Supreme Court.