Country

Maldives

Maldives

Name of law : Right to Information Act
First adopted : 2014

Section Max ScoreScore
Right of Access 6 2
Scope 30 28
Requesting procedures 30 20
Exceptions 30 17
Appeals 30 29
Sanctions 8 8
Promotional measures 16 12
TOTAL 150 116

Right of Access

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1 The legal framework (including jurisprudence) recognises a fundamental right of access to information.Score 0 for no constitutional right to information, 1 point for a limited constitutional right, 2 points for full constitutional recognition of a public right of access to information.2 Partially 2008 Constitution Article 29: Everyone has the freedom to acquire and impart knowledge, information and learning.
2 The legal framework creates a specific presumption in favour of access to all information held by public authorities, subject only to limited exceptions.No=0, Partially=1, Yes=22 Partially 2(b) to determine that the right to information will be limited to the circumstances specified under this Act only, and even under the said circumstances, where the adverse impact to public interest by non@disclosure is greater than that of disclosure, determine the principles by which the said information will be disclosed, in order to uphold the public interest; ; (c) to encourage the widest publication of information held or maintained at state@offices 74 In enforcing and interpreting provisions of this Act, the onus shall be on the interest of fully enabling the right to information. 2(c) and 74 suggest a wide interpretation, but this is contradicted by 2(b).
3 3.1 The legal framework contains a specific statement of principles calling for a broad interpretation of the RTI law
3.2 The legal framework emphasises the benefits of the right to information?
3.1(Y/N - max 1 point)
3.2 (Y/N - max 1 point)
2 NO




Scope

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4 Everyone (including non-citizens and legal entities) has the right to file requests for information.Score 0 point if only residents/citizens; 1 point for all natural persons; 1 point for legal persons. 2 YES 4(a) Access to information from a state@office in accordance with this Act shall be a legally enforceable right available to every person who requests for such information; 76. “person” shall include natural and legal personalities;
5 The right of access applies to all material held by or on behalf of public authorities which is recorded in any format, regardless of who produced it.Score 1-3 points if limited definition of information information such as not "internal documents" or databases excluded, 4 points for all information with no exceptions.4 Partially “Information” refers to any kind of information, or any information produced at any given date, or any information produced at any given party, or any information stored in any device, held and maintained by a state@office, and that which does not belong to a third party; .. “Information of a State@Office” shall mean every piece of information produced, held or maintained by state@ office; Loss of one point for exempting information belonging to third parties.
6 Requesters have a right to access both information and records/documents (i.e. a right both to ask for information and to apply for specific documents).Score 1 point for only documents, 1 point for information2 YES 10. Where the request to access certain information is made, and where it is found that the relevant information is not at the time available in written form but is stored in any other medium which can be retrieved or replicated on to written form, the state@ office in receipt of the request shall deal with the request as if it were a request to access a written document. For the purposes of this Act such information will be deemed to be in the form of a written document.
7 The right of access applies to the executive branch with no bodies or classes of information excluded.This includes executive (cabinet) and adminsitration including all ministries, departments, local government, public schools, public health care bodies, the police, the armed forces, security services, and bodies owned or controlled by the above.Score 4 points for central government agencies covered: 1 for the head of state, 1 for ministries, 1 for other non-statutory agencies created by the ministries, 1 for state and local government if the government is unitary. If it´s a federalist system, 2 points for the non-statutory agencies. This can be determined by examining the length and thoroughness of the list, if such a schedule exists. Score 1 point for the archives. Add three points and deduct 1 for each exempted central agency (such as the armed forces, police, etc).8 YES 76. “State@Office” shall include the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, independent institutions, independent offices, security services and councils elected under the Constitution. Also included are those bodies party to any state responsibilities, those functioning under the state budget and those receiving assistance from the state budget;
8 The right of access applies to the legislature, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all legislative branch at all levels of government4 YES 76. “State@Office” shall include the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, independent institutions, independent offices, security services and councils elected under the Constitution. Also included are those bodies party to any state responsibilities, those functioning under the state budget and those receiving assistance from the state budget;
9 The right of access applies to the judicial branch, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all judicial branch at all levels of government4 YES 76. “State@Office” shall include the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, independent institutions, independent offices, security services and councils elected under the Constitution. Also included are those bodies party to any state responsibilities, those functioning under the state budget and those receiving assistance from the state budget;
10 The right of access applies to State-owned enterprises (commercial entities that are owned or controlled by the State). Score 1 point if some, 2 points if all2 Partially 76. “State@Office” shall include the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, independent institutions, independent offices, security services and councils elected under the Constitution. Also included are those bodies party to any state responsibilities, those functioning under the state budget and those receiving assistance from the state budget; This is suggested under section 76… but it's possible it does not apply to all SOEs,
11 The right of access applies to other public authorities, including constitutional, statutory and oversight bodies (such as an election commission or information commission/er). Score 1 point if some bodies, 2 points if all2 YES 76. “State-Office” shall include the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, independent institutions, independent offices, security services and councils elected under the Constitution. Also included are those bodies party to any state responsibilities, those functioning under the state budget and those receiving assistance from the state budget;
12 The right of access applies to a) private bodies that perform a public function and b) private bodies that receive significant public funding. 1 point for public functions, 1 point for public funding 2 YES 72 Associations and Organizations functioning in the Maldives under funds from state budget, or under funds received from a foreign government, or under funds from an international body, notwithstanding what is stated otherwise in another statute, shall be applicable to all the provisions that are applicable to the state@offices under this Act. And all provisions of this Act that are administered upon state@offices shall be equally applied to these bodies. 76. “State-Office” shall include the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, independent institutions, independent offices, security services and councils elected under the Constitution. Also included are those bodies party to any state responsibilities, those functioning under the state budget and those receiving assistance from the state budget;

Requesting Procedures

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13 Requesters are not required to provide reasons for their requests.Y/N answer 0 or 2 points2 YES 6(e) The form mentioned in subsection (b) of this section shall not compel to provide any information except those specified in subsection (a) of this section. Reasons are not listed in section 6, implying no requirement to provide them.
14 Requesters are only required to provide the details necessary for identifying and delivering the information (i.e. some form of address for delivery).Score Max 2 points and deduct if requesters are required to give any of the following: ID number, telephone number, residential address, etc.2 NO 6(a)(5) specify the name, address and phone number of the person submitting the request
15 There are clear and relatively simple procedures for making requests. Requests may be submitted by any means of communication, with no requirement to use official forms or to state that the information is being requested under the access to information law.Max 2 points. Considerations include that there is no requirement to state that the request is under the RTI law, nor to use an official form, nor to identify the document being sought. 2 NO 6(a) A request for information from a state@office must be made to the Information Officer of that office in writing and must: (1) state that the request for information is made under this Act; … (c) A State Office may, in accordance with this Act, prepare and introduce a specific application form for the purpose of making a request. Such an application form, however, shall not be a cause for inconvenience or unreasonable delay in processing a request (d) In circumstances where the form mentioned in subsection (c) of this section has not been introduced by the State Office, or where the form is unavailable, requesting for information without the form shall be permissable.
16 Public officials are required provide assistance to help requesters formulate their requests, or to contact and assist requesters where requests that have been made are vague, unduly broad or otherwise need clarification. Score 1 point for help in formulation and 1 point for clarification procedures2 YES 8(a) A request for access to information from a state@ office may be declined for failure to provide the necessary information in the application, as required in this Act. . However, a request may be so declined only after notifying the applicant and providing the applicant an opportunity to complete all the information required for an application in compliance with this Act, and after offering assistance to help the applicant comply with the requirements of the Act. . If the applicant still fails to comply with the stipulations required for an application under this Act 36(c)(2) Each Information Officer of a state office shall bear the highest responsibility of disclosing information requested under this Act, and for assisting individuals seeking to obtain information, and to make decisions regarding requests made under section 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 of this Act.
17     Public officials are required to provide assistance to requesters who require it because of special needs, for example because they are illiterate or disabled.Score Yes=2 point, No=02 YES 6(b) Where the person requesting for information, is incapable of submitting a request in writing, as prescribed in subsection (a) of this section, due to a physical incapability or illiteracy, such persons may orally submit their request, with the information specified in subsection (a) of this section, to the Information Officer of the state office. In such circumstances, the Information Officer, must write down the request, sign it, and have a third person witness the process, have the witness sign the request, have the person orally submitting the request fingerprint the request, and give a copy of the written request to that person.
18 Requesters are provided with a receipt or acknowledgement upon lodging a request within a reasonable timeframe, which should not exceed 5 working daysScore 1 point for receipt, 1 point for max 5 working days2 Partially 6(f) The state office must provide a receipt acknowledging that a request has been submitted. No mention of timelines.
19 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for situations where the authority to which a request is directed does not have the requested information. This includes an obligation to inform the requester that the information is not held and to refer the requester to another institution or to transfer the request where the public authority knows where the information is held.Score: 1 point for information not held, 1 for referrals or 2 for transfers2 Partially 9(a) A state@office in receipt of a request shall under the following circumstances transfer the request to another office. If; (1) the information to which the request relates is not in custody of the state@office in receipt of the request, and the information is to the knowledge of that office held by another office; or, (2) the information to which the request relates is held by the state@office in receipt of the request but its disclosure may best be made by another office; or, (3) another state@office consents to the transfer of a request to that office Where a state@office transfers a request to information to another office, in accordance with subsection (a) of this section, it must notify the applicant of the transfer in writing, specifying the date of transfer and the reason for which the request was transferred to the other office. (c) Where a state@office transfers a request to information to another office, in accordance with subsection (a) of this section, it must complete the transfer within 7 days of receiving the request. Transfer permitted on far too broad grounds - but the procedure is good otherwise.
20 Public authorities are required to comply with requesters’ preferences regarding how they access information, subject only to clear and limited overrides (e.g. to protect a record).Score: 2 points for Yes, only 1 point if some limitations2 YES 15(b) Where an applicant requests access in a particular form as is stated in sub@section (a) then access must be granted in that particular form. (c) Notwithstanding subsection (b) of this section, access may be granted in a form different from the manner requested if the following is encountered in granting access in the form requested by the applicant: (1) if the work to provide the information in the requested form would impede the general functions of the state@office; (2) where, at the moment of disclosure, providing the information in the form requested, it would be detrimental to the information in its original form, or to the preservation of the information in its original form. (3) if it would involve an infringement of copyright. (e) If the information is in more than one language, it must be provided in the language requested by the applicant. Notwithstanding this principle, where the information is prepared in the Dhivehi language or English or both, providing the information in any of these two languages shall be deemed as having complied with this provision. "Impede the general functions" is a bit too broad… but I think they still deserve full points.
21 Public authorities are required to respond to requests as soon as possible.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points 2 YES 7(a) Where a request to access for information is made under this Act, action on the request must be taken as promptly as possible and such access must be provided as soon as may be practicable. That period shall not in any event exceed 21 (twenty@one) days.
22 There are clear and reasonable maximum timelines (20 working days or less) for responding to requests, regardless of the manner of satisfying the request (including through publication).Score: 1 point for timeframes of 20 working days (or 1 month, 30 days or 4 weeks). Score 2 points for 10 working days (or 15 days, or two weeks) or less.2 Partially 7(a) Where a request to access for information is made under this Act, action on the request must be taken as promptly as possible and such access must be provided as soon as may be practicable. That period shall not in any event exceed 21 (twenty@one) days.
23 There are clear limits on timeline extensions (20 working days or less), including a requirement that requesters be notified and provided with the reasons for the extension.---2 YES 7(c) If the information requested involves a lot of information or can only be provided after extensive research, and finding that information requires an excessive amount of time which would disrupt the normal work load of that State Office, that State Office has the discretion to extend the 21 day period stipulated in subsection (a) of this Section for further 14 days period, which must be made in writing within the first 21 days of the application. ... 12(e) where the information requested cannot be disclosed within 21 (twenty@one) days, the reason(s) for delay; Limit on time extensions to an additional 14 days, and a requirement for notification.
24 It is free to file requests.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 YES 19(a) Circumstances under which fees shall be charged and the rate at which such fees shall be charged for the disclosure of information shall be determined in a regulation made in accordance with this Act. (c) In so determining the applicable fee or charge, pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, due consideration must be given to the following: (1) that the charge or fee payable does not exceed the actual cost of transforming and providing the information in the required format; (2)that the fee does not amount to a charge taken for the task of searching, examining, collecting and verifying the information; (3)That no inconvenience is caused to a person who is financially disadvantaged, in obtaining access to information which he is entitled to under this Act; (4)That no fee shall be charged where the information requested is personal information of the applicant or the information sought relates to that which is of general public interest.
25 There are clear rules relating to access fees, which are set centrally, rather than being determined by individual public authorities. These include a requirement that fees be limited to the cost of reproducing and sending the information (so that inspection of documents and electronic copies are free) and a certain initial number of pages (at least 20) are provided for free. Score 1 point for fees being limited to reproduction and delivery costs and set centrally, 1 point for at least 20 pages free of charge or for fees being optional2 YES 19(a) Circumstances under which fees shall be charged and the rate at which such fees shall be charged for the disclosure of information shall be determined in a regulation made in accordance with this Act. (c) In so determining the applicable fee or charge, pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, due consideration must be given to the following: (1) that the charge or fee payable does not exceed the actual cost of transforming and providing the information in the required format; (2)that the fee does not amount to a charge taken for the task of searching, examining, collecting and verifying the information; (3)That no inconvenience is caused to a person who is financially disadvantaged, in obtaining access to information which he is entitled to under this Act; (4)That no fee shall be charged where the information requested is personal information of the applicant or the information sought relates to that which is of general public interest.
26   There are fee waivers for impecunious requesters ---2 Partially 19(c)(3) That no inconvenience is caused to a person who is financially disadvantaged, in obtaining access to information which he is entitled to under this Act;
27 There are no limitations on or charges for reuse of information received from public bodies, except where a third party (which is not a public authority) holds a legally-protected copyright over the information. Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.


Exceptions

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28 The standards in the RTI Law trump restrictions on information disclosure (secrecy provisions) in other legislation to the extent of any conflict.Score 4 points for a resounding "yes" and 1/2/3 points if only for some classes of information or for some exceptions. If the state secrets law is not trumped by the RTI law max score is 2 points. 4 Partially 3(c) Notwithstanding where a statute, already enforced or that comes into enforcement after this Act, specifies that information present at a state@office shall be disclosed under a certain procedure, or specifies that such information shall not be disclosed, precedence must be given to the principles specified in this Act. Disclosure or non@disclosure of such information shall be based on the norms determined in this Act. 22 The following information shall be exempt from thedisclosure under this Act: (a) Information, disclosure of which is an offence under any law of Maldives; 3(c) seems like a relatively clear statement here, but it is directly contradicted by 22(a) - which basically builds in any exception found in other laws.
29 The exceptions to the right of access are consistent with international standards. Permissible exceptions are: national security; international relations; public health and safety; the prevention, investigation and prosecution of legal wrongs; privacy; legitimate commercial and other economic interests; management of the economy; fair administration of justice and legal advice privilege; conservation of the environment; and legitimate policy making and other operations of public authorities. It is also permissible to refer requesters to information which is already publicly available, for example online or in published form.Score 10 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which either (a) falls outside of this list and/or (b) is more broadly framed10 Partially 8(b) Where the state@office has responded to the request, or had done so to the same request previously, and where after the response there has been no change to the information since then, or where sufficient time had not elapsed, , the state@office having notified the applicant in writing has the discretion not to proceed with the request, for the reasons so given. 14(a) If the requested information cannot be disclosed when the application is made due to the following reasons, the information can be withheld having decided a time for disclosure and up until such time: (1) where the information ought to be published under this or another Act and the time for such publication has not arrived at the time the request is made; or (3) if the document is prepared to be presented to a certain authority as may be required by law or an ongoing event or a preplanned event and the time for such presentation has not arrived at the time request is made. 22(d)(2) information, if prematurely disclosed could adversely affect a person or group of person, 23(d)(5) personal or legal or judicial information relating to a child who has not attained the age of 18 (eighteen), the disclosure of which may harm the child’s person or dignity, "Sufficient time has not elapsed" is vague and could be abused, and is unnecessary in addition to the discretion to refuse responding if the information hasn't changed. S. 14 deferments are too broad. 22(2)(d) is way too vague. Child protection is a bit too broad, and unnecessary in light of seperate protections for personal information.
30 A harm test applies to all exceptions, so that it is only where disclosure poses a risk of actual harm to a protected interest that it may be refused. Score 4 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which is not subject to the harm test 4 Partially 25(c)where the information requested is that which was received or utilized or maintained in connection with an official mandate carried out by a state@office, and concerns an agreement or transaction made between two private individuals or between two companies, and where that information, if disclosed, would reveal secrets of personal or financial or debt or business matters. 27(a)(3) information that needs to be kept confidential for the enforcement or administration of a legislation; 32(a)(1) a document prepared for submission to Cabinet; 2) a document submitted to Cabinet; (3) a draft of a document prepared for submission to Cabinet or a copy of a document submitted or prepared for submission to Cabinet; (4) Information, the disclosure of which would reveal details of deliberations and decisions in the cabinet and the identity of the speaker.
31 There is a mandatory public interest override so that information must be disclosed where this is in the overall public interest, even if this may harm a protected interest. There are ‘hard’ overrides (which apply absolutely), for example for information about human rights, corruption or crimes against humanity.Consider whether the override is subject to overarching limitations, whether it applies to only some exceptions, and whether it is mandatory.4 YES 20(b)Notwithstanding anything any section of this Chapter, a state@office shall disclose information upon request where larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information rather than denial of access and where the interest protected by non@disclosure is outweighed by the interests of the larger public upon disclosure. (c) Where access to certain information sought for under this Act is not granted citing reasons of public interest, the following grounds shall not be regarded as justifiable reasons that would erode public interest: (1)the information contains such details if disclosed to the public may make it difficult for the concerned state@office to be answerable; (2)the information contains such details that may undermine public confidence in the concerned state@office; (3) the information contains such deletions which may adversely impact the comprehension of the remaining details.
32 Information must be released as soon as an exception ceases to apply (for example, for after a contract tender process decision has been taken). The law contains a clause stating that exceptions to protect public interests do not apply to information which is over 20 years old.Score 1 point for each2 Partially 33 The provisions prescribed in sections 22, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30 shall not apply to information which have attained 10 (ten) years.
33 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for consulting with third parties who provided information which is the subject of a request on a confidential basis. Public authorities shall take into account any objections by third parties when considering requests for information, but third parties do not have veto power over the release of information.Score: 1 point for consultation, 1 further point if original time frames must be respected and the law allows for expedited appeals.2 NO 23(a) Where the information to be disclosed by a state@office concerns the personal information of a third person, the Information Officer of that state@office shall not disclose the information without the consent of the third party. (b) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, where the disclosure of the third person’s personal information is in the interest of maintaining public interest, for that reason, that information may be disclosed to its relative extent without the consent of the third party, but with the authority of the review Committee set up in the state@office under this Act. 34(a) Where a request for information of a third party, that is protected by sections 23, 24, 25 and 26, is received by a state@office, and where the Information Officer of those state@office intents to disclose it, the third party must be notified within 5 days of receiving the request, that such information is intended to be disclosed. (b)Where the third party receives a notification of disclosure as according to subsection (a) of this section, and where there is an objection to that disclosure, the Information Officer must be informed orally or by writing within 7 days following the date of notification (c)In deciding to disclose the said information, the Information Officer, having considered the reasons for objecting to disclose by the third party, can decide to disclose or not disclose the information. (d)Where the Information Officer decides to disclose the information despite objections from the third party, the third party must be notified in writing that the information has been disclosed and the reasons for its disclosure. The Information officer must also state in the said notice that where the third party is unsatisfied with the decision, he has the right of appeal as according to section 40 of this Act. The notification must also specify the contact details of the appeal authority. (e)The Information Officer shall disclose information the disclosure of which is objected by the third party, after having the approval of the appeal and review stage. Third parties have veto power on information impacting privacy, but the procedure for third party commercial information is not bad.
34 There is a severability clause so that where only part of a record is covered by an exception the remainder must be disclosed. Score 1 point if yes but sometimes can be refused (eg: if deletions render meaningless the document) and 2 points if partial access must always be granted2 YES 3(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a)(1) of this section, where a request for information relates to that which has been exempt from this Act, and where that information is exempt because it contains a specific piece of information that can be deleted, and such deletion would remove it from the ambit of an exempt information under the Act, then the state@office in receipt of the request shall not refuse access to that information, if it is possible to grant access after deleting the exempt information. 21 21 Where an application is made for access to information, and part of that information is exempted from disclosure under this Act, having removed the exempted part, the remaining part of the information shall be disclosed.
35 When refusing to provide access to information, public authorities must a) state the exact legal grounds and reason(s) for the refusal and b) inform the applicant of the relevant appeals procedures.Score Y/N: 1 point for a and 1 point for b2 YES 12(d) where the information requested is in the custody of the state@office but cannot be disclosed, the reason(s) for non@disclosure; .... (f) that the applicant has the right to appeal under this Act, should the applicant wish to appeal the response given to him in accordance to subsections (b), (c), (d) and (e) of this section. 13(C) Where a state@office declined access to information by virtue of subsection (a) of this section, the state@office must notify the applicant in writing, the reason for the decision.


Appeals

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36 The law offers an internal appeal which is simple, free of charge and completed within clear timelines (20 working days or less).Score 2 points if the internal appeal fulfills these criteria, 1 point if an appeal is offered that does not fulfill this criteria, 0 for no internal appeals.2 YES 41(a) Each state@office shall set up a Review Committee with the task of examining and reviewing complaints lodged by those unsatisfied by the decisions of the Information Officers. And that Committee must consist of those at a higher rank than the Information Officer(s). (b) Where there is a party unsatisfied with the decision made by the Information Officer(s) of a state@office, a submission may be made to the Review Committee of the state@office requesting a review of the decision, within 30 days from the date the decision was made or should have been made. (c) The Review Committee mentioned in subsection (a) of this section, may accept a complaint to be reviewed, even after the lapse of the period mentioned in subsection (b) of this section, where the Committee believes there is a reasonable justification for the delay. (d) Where the complaint submitted concerns the information of a third party, a decision on the complain must be reached after having heard the third party. (e)As a normal practice, complaints submitted to the Review Committee must be reviewed within 30 days and where the review is not completed within this period, due to a special circumstance, it must be completed within an additional 15 days. (f)The Review Committee, having examined and reached a decision about a complaint submitted to it, shall notify its decision to all concerned parties in writing.
37 Requesters have the right to lodge an (external) appeal with an independent administrative oversight body (e.g. an information commission or ombudsman). 1 for partial, 2 for yes2 YES 59 (a) Where there is a party unsatisfied with the decision reached by the Review Committee after review, the party may appeal the matter to the Information Commissioner, within 90 days from the date the decision was made or should have been made.
38 The member(s) of the oversight body are appointed in a manner that is protected against political interference and have security of tenure so they are protected against arbitrary dismissal (procedurally/substantively) once appointed.Score: 1 point for appointment procedure, 1 point for security of tenure2 YES 44. The Information Commissioner shall be appointed by the President, in accordance with this section. Wherever the need to appoint the Information Commissioner arises, the President shall propose to the People’s Majlis at least three names. The names that are submitted to the People’s Majlis in accordance with subsection (b) of this section shall comprise of those names that the President selected from among the people who answered a public announcement. The President shall also forward to the People’s Majlis, for its information, the names of all other respondents to the said public announcement. The President shall appoint as Information Commissioner the person whose name is passed by a majority of those present at a session of People’s Majlis from the names submitted to the Majlis by the President in accordance with subsection (b) of this Section. 49 The Information Commissioner shall be dismissed from office, if found that he carried out an act unsuitable to the position of Information Commissioner, or if he is unable to discharge the responsibilities of the post or is incompetent to perform the responsibilities of the post, by the relevant Parliamentary Committee of the People’s Majlis, and upon the approval of such finding by the People’s Majlis by a majority of those present and voting, calling for the Commissioner’s removal from office.
39 The oversight body reports to and has its budget approved by the parliament, or other effective mechanisms are in place to protect its financial independence.Score 1 point for reports to parliament, 1 point for budget approved by parliament2 YES 51. (a) The salary and benefits offered to the Information Commissioner shall be in part with that offered to the President of the Human Rights Commission. (b) The salary and other allowances provided to the employees of the Office of the Information Commissioner shall be determined by the Commissioner with the advice of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury. 53. The Information Commissioner shall appear before the People’s Majlis or any of its relevant committees if required to do so at any time. And the Information Commissioner must answer the questions put before him by the Majlis or committees, to the best of his knowledge. 55. (a) The State treasury shall provide the Office of the Information Commissioner the funds from the annual budget approved by the People’s Majlis in order for the Information Commissioner to undertake fully the responsibilities of the office.
40 There are prohibitions on individuals with strong political connections from being appointed to this body and requirements of professional expertise.Score 1 point for not politically connected, 1 point for professional expertise2 YES 46 The Information Commissioner so appointed shall meet the following requirements: (a) must have attained the age of 35 years; (b) must not be convicted of an offence punishable by a had, or an offence of fraud or bribery as per Shari’ah; (c) must not be a person holding an elected office or a political position under the Constitution of any law of the Republic of Maldives; (d) must not be a member of a political party nor engaged in the activities of a political party; (e) must have a first degree in the legal field, and possess at least 7 (seven) years experiences in working in the legal or Shari’ah field in the Maldives, or must have a first degree in the human rights field, and possess at least four years experience in working in the human rights field in the Maldives. (f) must not be employed in any other employment save as Information Commissioner.
41 The independent oversight body has the necessary mandate and power to perform its functions, including to review classified documents and inspect the premises of public bodies.Score 1 point for reviewing classified documents, 1 point for inspection powers2 YES 63 The Information Commissioner shall have the following powers in relation to an appeal or complaint lodged before him: (a) to summon those persons that have to be summoned; (b) to obtain statements from those summoned; (c) to collect testimony from those willing; (d) to request for information; (e) to request for documents; (f) to order to provide documents; (g) to order to provide information; (h) to order to provide a specific document or specific information to the Information Commissioner; (i) to investigate and review a specific piece of information; (j) to obtain evidence; (k)to obtain evidence in writing; (l) to obtain testimonies in writing; (m) to order a specific state@office to provide information held in its office (n) to summon a specific person, who having being identified as a witness; (o)having specified a given document, to order to submit that document; (p) to enter a state@office; (q) to examine and search a given sate@office for the purpose of obtaining a relevant piece of information, and where that information is found, to withhold the document or the source in which the said information is found; (r) other powers vested in the Information Commissioner under the regulations formulated under this Act.
42 The decisions of the independent oversight body are binding. Score N=0, Y=2 points2 YES 64(b) Unless overturned by a judicial court, decisions reached by the Information Commissioner in accordance with this Act, shall be regarded as valid decisions and are legally binding. 68 Where 45 (forty five) days have elapsed, without aparty neither appealing nor complying with a decision made by the Information Commissioner, the Commissioner may submit to the Office of the Prosecutor General, a request to send the matter to a judicial court, in order to take action against the party for disobeying an order lawfully issued under judicial or legal authority.
43 In deciding an appeal, the independent oversight body has the power to order appropriate remedies for the requester, including the declassification of information. 1 for partial, 2 for fully2 YES 64(a) Having examined an appeal or complaints lodged before the Information Commissioner, the matter can be settled in the following ways: (1) that the complaint or appeal is of no substantial basis; (2) to order a specific state@office to disclose a specific piece of information; (3) to order a specific state@office to release a specific piece of information; (4) to order to release a specific piece of information in the format requested by the person who made the request; (5) to order the release of a specific piece of information requested by a specific person, in a reasonable format other than that requested by the applicant; (6) to determine that the decision reached by a specific state@office in relation to a complaint submitted is correct; (7) to order the dissemination of a specific piece of information or a specific class of information; (8) to order to strengthen the document management system of a specific state@ office, or to order to reform relevant procedure; (9) to fine any Information Officer who has breached provisions of this Act; (10) to fine any party who breached a lawful order given by the Information Commissioner; (11) to order a state@office to take disciplinary measures against an Information Officer, of that state@office, repeatedly breaching provisions prescribed in this Act. (12) to order the police to investigate any case of any person alleged to have committed an offence prescribed under this Act, and where, after the police investigation, the Information Commissioners finds legal action should be brought against the person, to send the case to the Prosecutor General.
44 Requesters have the right to lodge a judicial appeal.1 for partially, 2 for fully.2 YES 67(a) Where there is a party unsatisfied with the decision reached by the Information Commissioner as under this Act, the party may appeal the matter to the High Court, within 30 days from the date the decision was made or should have been made. And in any such appeal proceedings, the appellant has the onus of establishing that he followed the law correctly un his suit against the Information Commissioner.
45 Appeals to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are free of charge and do not require legal assistance.1 for free, 1 for no lawyer required. 2 Partially This is not mentioned, but the IC's structure, with its strong independent investigative function, strongly suggests this. No mention of fees for appeals -suspect it will be free, but until the regulations get set out it's impossible to say for sure.
46 The grounds for appeal to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are broad (including not only refusals to provide information but also refusals to provide information in the form requested, administrative silence and other breach of timelines, charging excessive fees, etc.).Score 1 point for appealing refusals, additional points for appealing other violations.4 YES 60 Without subjecting limitations or omissions to the provisions mentioned in section 15 of this Act, an applicant making a request for information, has the power to appeal directly to the Information Commissioner, in the following circumstances: where the applicant is unable to access information from a specific state@office, because no Information Officer has been appointed to that state@office; where a state@office refuses to receive an application of request for information without reasonable justification; where the Information Officer refuses or neglects to provide a receipt notifying that the request has been duly applied under this Act; where the Information Officer fails to comply to a request for access to information within the time limits required under this Act; where the Information Officer or the state@office attributed to the Information Officer fails to comply with a directive issued by the Information Commissioner; where the Information Officer or the state@office attributed to the Information Officer, breaches any provision prescribed in this Act regarding access to information.
47 Clear procedures, including timelines, are in place for dealing with external appeals (oversight/judicial).Score 1 point for clear procedures, 1 point for timelines. 2 YES 62(b)All appeals and complaints lodged before the Information Commissioner, in accordance with this Act, shall be examined and completed within 30 days. Where the examination and reaching a decision regarding the complaint or appeal is unfinished for any reason within the time limit, having notified the applicant who made the complaint or appeal with reasons, the Information Commissioner has the power to add additional 15 days to the process. (c) Where the complaint or appeal submitted to the Information Commissioner concerns information protecting the interest of a third party, the third party has the right to be heard. (d) Unless otherwise stated in this section, all proceedings related to a complain or appeal must be conducted in open sittings. (e) Notwithstanding subsection (d) of this section, in circumstances where information exempted from disclosure under this Act, is to be examined in connection with a complain or appeal lodged under this Act, the Information Commissioner may examine such information in a confidential sitting or sitting closed to the public. (f) The decisions reached by the Information Commissioner must be announced in an open sitting. (g) Having examined an appeal or complaint lodged before the Information Commissioner, the decision reached, must be notified to all concerned parties.
48 In the appeal process (oversight/judicial/) the government bears the burden of demonstrating that it did not operate in breach of the rules.Score Y/N and award 2 points for yes. 2 YES 62In proceeding with complaints or appeals lodged before the Information Commissioner, the state@office to which the Information Officer is attributed, has the onus of establishing the following: (1) that the information requested was refused based on a provision prescribed in law; or (2) that the state@office has adhered to that prescribed in this Act.
49 The external appellate body has the power to impose appropriate structural measures on the public authority (e.g. to conduct more training or to engage in better record management)1 for partial, 2 for fully. 2 YES 64(a)(8) to order to strengthen the document management system of a specific state@ office, or to order to reform relevant procedure;


Sanctions & Proteccions

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
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Article

Comments
50 Sanctions may be imposed on those who wilfully act to undermine the right to information, including through the unauthorised destruction of information.Score 1 point for sanctions for underming right, 1 point for destruction of documents 2 YES 71(a) Where the Information Officer commits any of the following, the Information Commissioner must impose a fine on him, of not more than 5000 (five thousand) Rufiyaa. Refusal to accept a request for access to information without justifiable reason; Refusal to provide access to information, without justifiable reason, within the time limits prescribed in this Act; Refusal to provide information with bad intent; providing incomplete or misleading or incorrect information (c) The Information Commissioner has the power to charge a fine of not more than 25,000 (twenty@five thousand) Rufiyaa for the following matters: Where the state@office or the Information Officer obstructs duties to be carried out under this Act; Obstruction of the duties to be carried out by the Information Commissioner under this Act; Destroying information subject to a request of access, with bad intent; Misappropriation or tempering with information held at a state@office contrary to decided procedure.
51 There is a system for redressing the problem of public authorities which systematically fail to disclose information or underperform (either through imposing sanctions on them or requiring remedial actions of them).Score 1 point for either remedial action or sanctions, 2 points for both 2 YES 64(a)(9) to fine any Information Officer who has breached provisions of this Act; 65(a) In circumstances where the Information Commissioner identifies that a specific state@ office is not discharging its functions in accordance to this Act, the Information Commissioner, has the power to initiate his own investigations and reach a decision regarding the matter, even in the absence of a specific appeal or complaint by any aggrieved party. (c) Where, after having investigated a case as according to subsection (a) of this section, a specific state@office is found to have discharged its functions contrary to this Act, the Information Commissioner must order that state@office to correct them. The Information Officer must also order the said state@office the measures to be taken in order to correct them.
52 The independent oversight body and its staff are granted legal immunity for acts undertaken in good faith in the exercise or performance of any power, duty or function under the RTI Law. Others are granted similar immunity for the good faith release of information pursuant to the RTI Law.Score 1 for oversight body, 1 for immunity for others2 YES 58 No criminal or civil suit shall be filed against the Information Commissioner or person acting under delegation of the Commissioner, in relation to committing or omitting an act in good faith whilst undertaking responsibilities prescribed in this Act. Unless bad faith is proven, the information exchanged under this Act is privileged information and no action for defamation maybe pursued based on the information. 69(a) The Information Commissioner or any staff of the Information Commissioner’s Office shall not be subject to any civil or criminal measure, for any action or omitting to act in good faith, in carrying out the responsibilities of Information Commissioner. 69(d) No action for defamation or breach of duty of confidentiality may lie against a person in a state@office who in processing a request to access information under this Act, who believes, in good faith that access may duly be granted to such information under the Act. (e) No offense may lie against a person or his assistant, in a state@office who decided to provide a request to access information under this Act, believing in good faith that access may duly be granted to such information under the Act. (f) Where an act or undertaking of a state@office was found to be conducted in good faith, in order to administer the provisions of this Act, the person who acted as such will not carry any personal liability for his actions. 70 No criminal or civil suit shall be filed against any person responsible to discharge the provisions of this Act, where his action was carried out in good faith whilst undertaking the responsibilities of this Act.
53 There are legal protections against imposing sanctions on those who, in good faith, release information which discloses wrongdoing (i.e. whistleblowers).Score 2 for strong protections, 1 for moderate protections2 YES 69(b) A person, having gained information of a wrongdoing, may not be subject to any disciplinary measures or punishment, regardless of any breach of a legal, administrative or employment obligation on his part, for releasing information on the wrongdoing. This is subject to him having acted in good faith to disclose the wrongdoing, and without having any other interest in the matter. (c) A person may not be subject to any civil or criminal measure or subject to punishment, for releasing information on an illegal act or an offense, or an act of corruption, or information regarding the potential to commit such an act, or place of such an act by a party.


Promotional measures

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
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Article

Comments
54 Public authorities are required to appoint dedicated officials (information officers) or units with a responsibility for ensuring that they comply with their information disclosure obligations.Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 36 (a) The highest ranking official of every state@office must designate Information Officer(s) in their respective state@offices having the responsibility to provide information to the public requesting for the information under this Act. And the names, designations and contact details of the Information Officers, must be disseminated as widely as possible and must be publicly accessible.
55 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, is given overall responsibility for promoting the right to information. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 56 In addition to undertaking the responsibilities specified in this Act, the Information Commissioner has the following powers: (e)to publicize the purpose and objectives of this Act and to widely publicize the rights provided to individuals under this Act and to inform them of these rights.
56 Public awareness-raising efforts (e.g. producing a guide for the public or introducing RTI awareness into schools) are required to be undertaken by law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 Partially 35 The Information Commissioner shall prepare in writing and provide for the easy and broad access of information regarding the procedures for access of information under this Act. 37 Every state@office shall take the initiative and publish annually or within a shorter period of time, the following information and shall arrange to provide them without limiting to such documents only: (e)information held or maintained by the state@ office, and the type of information generally published, and the procedure to be followed in requesting for information; S 35 sort of suggests a guide will be produced, but the language is unclear.
57 A system is in place whereby minimum standards regarding the management of records are set and applied. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 36(c)(1) formulate the policies and principles required to maintain, archive and disclose the information, according to the principles laid down by the Information Commissioner under section 38 of this Act, and administer and encourage the implementation of these; 39(a) Every state@office shall maintain records to facilitate the easy access of information, and follow guidelines for that purpose. (c) The Information Commissioner shall publish within a determinable duration, the general guidelines concerning the granting of access and the maintenance, storage and elimination of records held by state@offices.
58 Public authorities are required to create and update lists or registers of the documents in their possession, and to make these public. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO
59 Training programs for officials are required Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 40 The Information Commissioner shall, for the purpose of proper execution of this Act, employ personnel and train them with regard to the right to information and the policies laid down in this Act. 56 In addition to undertaking the responsibilities specified in this Act, the Information Commissioner has the following powers: (c)to participate, run and cooperate in providing training programs for Government employees, for the purpose of administering this Act;
60 Public authorities are required to report annually on the actions they have taken to implement their disclosure obligations. This includes statistics on requests received and how they were dealt with. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 42 Each state@office must, once a year, under the initiative of the Information Officer of that state@ office, compile an annual report and submit it to the Information Commissioner, based on, but not limited to, the following information: (a)the number of applications received, the number of applications answered, the number of applications for which access was provided for the requested information and the number of applications for which access to the requested information was not granted; (b)the section or provisions of this Act invoked the most in order to refuse a request for information; (c)the number of appeals made following refusal to access to information; (d)the number of times fees were charged and the total value of the fees paid; (e)activities and steps taken proactively in order to comply with the duty of information disclosure; (f)activities and steps taken for information maintenance; (g)activities and steps taken for the purpose of training employees.
61 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, has an obligation to present a consolidated report to the legislature on implementation of the law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 Partially 57(a) The Office of the Information Commissioner shall prepare and submit an annual report based on the activities of the Commission, before the end of February to the President of the Republic and the People’s Majlis. Requirement for an annual report, but it only seems to be about the IC's activities, not overall compliance.