The central information commission has asked leaders of six national parties -- Rajnath Singh, Mayawati, Sonia Gandhi, Prakash Karat, Sharad Pawar and Sudhakar Reddy -- to appear before it for not responding to RTI queries.
The named notices were issued after one of the complainants, RK Jain, accused the CIC registrar of adopting double standards in handling his complaints against the BJP, Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Communist Party of India (Marxist) and CPI by only naming Gandhi while addressing other notices to party chiefs.
Jain in February 2014 filed right to information pleas with the Congress and other parties, seeking details of donations, funding and internal elections. He lodged a complaint with the information watchdog, which had in 2013 said parties were bound to reveal information under the RTI act, after his pleas remained answered.
The leaders have been asked to present their case on July 22 before a full bench comprising information commissioners Bimal Julka, Sridhar Acharyulu and Sudhir Bhargava that will hear Jain’s plea.
“Take notice that if you fail to furnish your comments/reply by 20th July, 2016 and fail to appear on the aforesaid date and time, it will be presumed that you have nothing to say in your defence and the matter will be processed further as per law,” the notice said.
Earlier, a notice was issued to Congress chief Gandhi by name while for other parties, the notices were addressed to presidents/general secretaries without naming those holding the positions to which Jain objected.
In his complaint to chief information commissioner RK Mathur, Jain alleged CIC registrar MK Sharma had issued notice to Sonia Gandhi “by name”, while the names of Singh (BJP), Karat (CPI-M), Pawar (NCP), Mayawati (BSP) and Reddy (CPI) were omitted though the complaints had named them.
Jain alleged that the then BJP chief Singh had been named in his complaint but registrar MK Sharma issued the notice to the current president, Amit Shah.
“At present, Amit Shah is the president of BJP thus Rajnath Singh has illegally and indirectly been exonerated by MK Sharma,” Jain said in his complaint on June 15.