The draft Right to Information (RTI) bill and the Code of Conduct for all representatives of the people will be presented to Parliament at its next session, Cabinet Spokesperson and Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Rajitha Senaratne said.
“The Code of Conduct will be presented to Parliament along with the Right to Information Bill at the next session,” he told The Nation. Parliament is to reconvene on June 9 (Tuesday).
While Minister Senaratne said a final draft has been prepared and it was also reported that Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Leader Anura Kumara Dissannayake had presented a draft of the Code of Conduct. However, Jathika Hela Urumaya(JHU) Media Spokesperson Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said he was yet to see a single document relating to the Code of Conduct.
“We admit that a Code of Conduct is needed. However, we are yet to see any documents or even discussion reports,” he said. Warnasinghe also commented that the proper procedure when introducing the Code of Conduct should include discussions between all political parties.
Former State Minister of Higher Education, Prof Rajiva Wijesinha has also been continuously voicing his opinions about the delay in introducing the Code of Conduct. On social media, Prof Wijesinha wrote about the draft proposed by Anura Kumara Dissanayake, “Ironically, when we last discussed the matter, he asked me what could be done. But with no one else even raising the issue, I fear his draft will lie dormant until Ranil (Wickremesinghe) has got the election he craves for.”
Meanwhile, Cabinet had earlier approved the draft RTI bill at the Cabinet meeting held on April 22. However, with a section of the opposition expressing their intention to table a No-Confidence motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also on June 9, and agreement yet to be reached on the three civil members who are due to be appointed to the Constitutional Council (CC), there is still uncertainty regarding whether the RTI draft bill and the Code of Conduct could, in fact, be presented to Parliament at the next session.
When journalists questioned the status of the RTI at a press briefing held at the Government Information Department on Thursday (June 4), Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Media Karunarathne Paranavithana stated the Mass Media Ministry had completed its work regarding the draft bill and it was now up to the Ministry of Public Administration, Local Government and Democratic Governance to decide when the draft bill will be presented in Parliament.