As the five-year term of the first Right to Information (RTI) Commission will be coming to an end this month, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has exercised the right given to it under and in terms of Section 12(1) (a) of the Right to Information Act No. 12 of 2016 and nominated Ms. Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena to the RTI Commission.
“The name of Ms. Pinto Jayawardena, who is a sitting Member of the RTI Commission having been previously appointed upon the nomination by the organizations of publishers, editors and media persons, was unanimously approved by both the Executive Committee and the Bar Council of the BASL and has been communicated to His Excellency the President; the Honorable Speaker the and the Members of the Parliamentary Council,” a statement from the BASL detailed.
Accordingly, the BASL urged the President, the Honourable Speaker (Chairman of the Parliamentary Council) and the Members of the Parliamentary Council to expeditiously constitute the RTI Commission so that its valuable work in safeguarding rights can continue uninterrupted.
In its statement, the Association provided a brief biographical note of Ms. Pinto Jayawardena as detailed below:
“Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena graduated with Honours from the Faculty of Law of the University of Colombo and was enrolled as an Attorney-at-Law in 1997. As a public interest Attorney in the field of Public Law (till 2007) she appeared in several landmark cases concerning the Freedom of Expression and Contempt of Court before the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka and international Tribunals.
Her publications (books/chapter contributions) include Rule of Law in Decline (RCT, 2009); Still Seeking Justice (ICJ, 2010); Embattled Media (co-edited) (Sage, 2015); Right to Information: Fruits of Long and Hard Labour in The Roundtable – The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs (Routledge, 2018); Reflections on Sri Lanka’s RTI Act & RTI Regime (RTI Commission, 2019).
She has served on the editorial board of several legal publications including the LST Review and the Appellate Law Recorder (Deputy Editor / 2004 – 2014) and served as the Editorial Consultant (Legal) for the Sunday Times from 1998 to September 2016.
She has been a senior legal consultant and advisor for, among others, the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICwS), the University of London, UK; the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), the University of Sussex, UK; the Research Centre for Torture (RCT), Denmark; the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); the World Bank; and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ).
A Salzburg Fellow and a WISCOMP (New Delhi) Scholar of Peace, she was the 2013 Distinguished Visitor of the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra.
She was unanimously nominated by the Editors Guild of Sri Lanka for the 2014 D. R. Wijewardene Award for Earning the Appreciation of Peers and the Public, which she once again was awarded in 2016 in recognition of her contribution in drafting the Right to Information Act which she accepted on behalf of RTI campaigners.
She has served on several drafting committees concerning Right to Information legislation in Sri Lanka whose work contributed to the enactment of the Right to Information Act, No. 12 of 2016. She also formulated draft legislation on contempt of court for the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (2006),”