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Political parties have to reveal info under RTI Act

Discussion in 'National Politics' started by Eddie, Jun 3, 2013.

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  1. Eddie

    Eddie Lieutenant SENIOR MEMBER

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    Political parties are answerable to the people under the Right to Information (RTI) Act like public authorities, the Central Information Commission ruled on Monday.

    The ruling came in RTI queries filed by activists Subhash Agrawal and Anil Bairwal, who wanted to know the finances of and voluntary financial contributions received by six parties--Congress, BJP, CPI-M, CPI, NCP and BSP--and the details of the donors besides other details, which were refused, as the parties claimed RTI Act did not apply to them.

    A bench comprising chief information commissioner Satyananda Mishra and information commissioners ML Sharma and Annapurna Dixit said these parties fulfill
    the criteria of being public authorities under the RTI Act.

    The presidents, general secretaries of these parties have been directed to designate central public information officers and appellate authorities at their headquarters in six weeks to reply to the RTI applications filed by Agrawal and Bairwal. The bench also directed them to comply with the provisions of mandatory proactive disclosures clauses given under the RTI Act and put those details on their websites.

    During the hearing, Bairwal had argued that parties were under the RTI Act because of indirect substantial financing by the central government, performance of public duty and constitutional and legal provisions vesting them with rights and liabilities.

    Upholding his contention, the bench said tax exemptions granted to the parties and free air time given by All India Radio and Doordarshan during elections amounted to indirect financing from the government.

    "The central government has substantially financed these parties and therefore they are held to be public authorities under the RTI Act," the bench said.

    The CIC held that it was important for political parties to become accountable to public because they affected the lives of the citizens and were continuously engaged in performing public duty.

    Political parties have to reveal info under RTI Act
     
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