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Legal Analyses: South Asia

Providing analyses of draft or adopted laws and policies affecting foundational rights for democracy is an important part of CLD’s work. So far this year, it is already produced 11 such analyses (these are described under Legal Analyses). These analyses assess the proposed rules in relation to international and constitutional standards, providing recommendations so as to ensure greater compliance with these standards.

The Maldives analysis noted that the Bill was a progressive draft, which would go a long way to giving effect to the right to information. At the same time, it highlighted some areas that needed further attention. These included the need to expand the scope of the Bill to include the Majlis (parliament) and judiciary, removing the requirement that requests for information state a valid purpose, providing for the right to information law to override other laws to the extent of any inconsistency, tightening up the regime of exceptions and expanding the powers of the Information Commissioner to allow the office to view confidential documents and to proactively compel compliance.

The Note on the Draft Right to Information Law of Pakistan also emphasised the positive features of the draft in terms of giving effect to the right to information. However, to bring the draft Law more fully into line with international and comparative standards would require broader proactive disclosure obligations, a narrowing of the scope of the regime of exceptions, including by strengthening the public interest override, clear timelines for the processing of internal appeals, and the possibility of external appeals to an independent administrative oversight body with the power to make binding orders.

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