Millennium Post

Parties open to RTI scrutiny as deadline comes to an end

The murmurs in the corridors of power were that an ordinance may be brought but with the expiry of Monday’s deadline given by the Central Information Commission (CIC), prospects of such a move seemed bleak.

The CIC had in its order on 3 June held that six national parties  – Congress, BJP, NCP, CPI(M), CPI and BSP– have been substantially funded indirectly by the central government and they have the character of public authority under the RTI Act as they perform public functions.

The transparency watchdog’s six-week deadline to these political parties to appoint designate information officers and appellate authorities ended on Monday. Congress, which is credited for bringing in the flagship RTI Act in 2005, said the CIC order to appoint public information officers was misconceived.

‘If you read the RTI Act, if you go back to the debate which led to its conceptualisation, if the intent was to bring political parties under it, that would have been stated... ‘And the law doesn’t allow you to do something indirectly which cannot be done directly and that’s why we have said very respectfully that the CIC’s order is misconceived,’ I&B minister Manish Tewari told reporters on Monday.

While BJP said it supports transparency in the political system, it has not appointed any PIO as some of the senior leaders are opposed to transgression of RTI Act in political sphere. 

Left parties, CPI and CPI(M), have made it clear they would be opposing the RTI implementation on political parties.
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