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Decree gives right to info

Nanise Loanakadavu
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

PEOPLE will soon have access to confidential documents and information from administrative decision-making processes under the Freedom of Information Decree.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the decree established the legal right of a person to be able to access information and documents when a decision was made by someone in authority such as in a case of application for permits and licences.

He said the decree should be in place in the next couple of months.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the information provision was included in the 1997 Constitution, but none of the previous governments had the political will to implement it.

"Nobody made that law and we are doing it and it should be in place in the next couple of months," he said.

He said regulatory agencies such as the LTA and government ministries that had a high people impact or contact would be the first to be considered under the Information Decree.

"For example, if you are applying for a taxi permit and it is unsuccessful, you have the right to be able to get, under the freedom of right provisions, the decision making process and access the paper trail and file and actual decision in the end."

He said applicants could sight how the decision was reached.

"The new Constitution guarantees that and we are attending to some aspects of the law at the moment."

He said government had not decided on a time-frame for the decree to come into effect.

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