Parties slam door on info, govt plans to dilute RTI
With all major political parties closing ranks to oppose the CIC's ruling opening them to public scrutiny through the RTI Act, an emboldened government hinted on Tuesday it was unlikely to accept the order. HT reports.delhi Updated: Jun 05, 2013 02:44 IST
With all major political parties closing ranks to oppose the CIC's ruling opening them to public scrutiny through the Right to Information (RTI) Act, an emboldened government hinted on Tuesday it was unlikely to accept the order.
Finance minister P Chidambaram said the central information commission's order was not based on a “credible argument” and the department for personnel and training (DoPT), the nodal agency for the implementation of the act, said it was examining the ruling to determine its future course of action.
The DoPT said it would take into account the concerns of various parties before finalising its stand.Options being looked into included challenging the order in the Delhi high court and in case of a consensus, parties could even seek an amendment to the act to keep them out of the ambit of the transparency law, sources said.
The Congress termed the ruling as completely unacceptable. “Such adventurist approach will create a lot of harm and damage to democratic institutions,” party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said.
The BJP did not outrightly reject the CIC order, but did indicate its reservations. It was all for transparency, but wanted a debate on the issue, the party said.
Leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said people had been accessing information about political parties by filing RTI applications with the election commission.
“Heavens will not fall if RTI is allowed about the funding of political parties….but at the same time, it is necessary to see whether other organisations that benefit from the government in many ways are also covered,” he said.
His party ally the Janata Dal (United) and the CPI (M), too, expressed their displeasure.
In a landmark ruling, the CIC on Monday said political parties were public authorities and answerable to citizens under the RTI Act.
The six parties are the Congress, BJP, Nationalist Congress Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), CPI and Bahujan Samaj Party. As these were substantially funded indirectly by the Centre, they had the characters of public authority.