HB 40: Freedom of Information Act (Amendment) Bill, 2015

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infograph

Sponsor:

Hon. Davematics D. E. Ombugadu

Bill Status: Awaiting Committee Report

  • First Reading: 04/08/2015
  • Second Reading: 18/11/2015
  • Committee Referred To: Committee of the Whole
  • Consolidated with:
  • Date Reported out of Committee:
  • Third Reading:

Bill Analysis:

SHORT TITLE

Freedom of Information Act (Amendment) Bill, 2015

OBJECTIVE

The amendment seeks to strengthen institutions in the administration of the Act

AMENDMENTS PROPOSED BY THE BILL

Freedom of Information Act 2011 (“the Principal”)

Freedom of Information Act (Amend.) Bill 2015

Section 2 (5) –

“A public institution shall update and review information required to be published under this section periodically, and immediately whenever changes occur ”

Clause 2 of the Bill proposes to replace the word “update” with the word “review”; and replace the word “review” with “update”. The subsection will appear as follows: -

A public institution shall review and update information required to be published under this section periodically, and immediately whenever changes occur

Section 2(6)

“A person entitled to the right of access conferred by this Act shall have the right to institute proceedings in the Court to compel any public institution to comply with the provisions of this section”

Clause 3 of the Bill proposes to amend this sub-section by deleting it for being a repetition of Section 1(3) of the Principal Act which reads: -

“Any person entitled to the right to information under this Act, shall have the right to institute proceedings in the Court to compel any public institution to comply with the provisions of this Act” 


Section 2(7) of the Act provides as follows –

“Public institutions are all authorities whether executive, legislative or judicial agencies, ministries, and extra- ministerial departments of the government, together with all corporations established by law and all companies in which government has a controlling interest, and private companies utilizing public funds, providing public services or performing public functions”

Clause 4 proposes to amend the section by adding the word “Public” before the word “Corporations” as follows: -

“Public institutions are all authorities whether executive, legislative or judicial agencies, ministries, and extra- ministerial departments of the government, together with all Public corporations established by law and all companies in which government has a controlling interest, and private companies utilizing public funds, providing public services or performing public functions

Section 6(a) of the Act provides –

 

“The application is for a large number of records and meeting the original time limit would unreasonably interfere with the operations of the public institution; or …”

Clause 5 seeks to amend Section 6(a) of the Principal Act by deleting the colon sign after the word “institution” and after “or” inserting –

 

“consultation are necessary to comply with the application that cannot reasonably be completed within the original time limit”

Section 6(b) provides –

Consultations are necessary to comply with the application that cannot reasonably be completed within the original time limit, by giving notice of the extension stating whether the extension falls under the circumstances set out in this section, which notice shall contain a statement that the applicant has a right to have the decision to extend the limit reviewed by the Court.”

Clause 5 seeks to amend Section 6(b) of the Principal Act by introducing a new Section 6(b) as follows –

“the Public Institution must give notice of the extension stating whether the extension falls under the circumstance set out in this Section, which notice shall contain a statement that the application has a right to have the decision to extend the limit reviewed by the Court”

Section 31 (interpretation) defines the word "Information" to include all records, documents and information stored in whatever form including written, electronic, visual image, sound, audio recording, etc.

 

Clause 6 seeks to amend the definition by deleting “and information”

CONCLUSION

The objective of the Bill is to strengthen institutions in the administration of the Act. The flaw however is lack of clarity in the amendment of Section 6(b). The amendment to Section 6(b) proposes to insert a new paragraph as Section 6(b) but failed to mention whether the original Section 6(b) would be deleted or renumbered as another paragraph.

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