Transparency watchdog Central Information Commission (CIC)'s ruling that political parties were answerable to the people under the Right to Information (RTI) Act was rejected by Congress, CPI (M) and JD(U), while BJP greeted with it with caution.
Congress termed the move as an "adventurist" approach that "would harm democratic institutions".
"It is not acceptable. We totally disagree with it. Such adventurist approach will create a lot of harm," Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said.
The CIC, a quasi-judicial body, has said 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.
Congress ally CPI(M) also slammed the ruling, saying the CIC exceeded its brief. The Left party demanded an all-party discussion on the matter.
Expressing "astonishment and shock", JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav said the order was "no way justified" as "political parties are not shops".
BJP, however, felt nothing wrong in the CIC order. "BJP is not against anything that brings transparency and accountability which is equally applicable to all," said BJP spokesman Capt Abhimanyu, but senior party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was for the Election Commission to decide whether political parties should declare their assets to CIC.
'Saving CIC order from stay'
The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) Tuesday filed a caveat before the Delhi high court, a move to pre-empt a unilateral stay on a likely appeal by political parties against the CIC order bringing them under the ambit of RTI. The order came on two applications filed by ADR and RTI activist SC Agrawal.