As the possibility of an ordinance to keep political parties out of the Right to Information Act (RTI) gets remote, the campaigners are set to file complaints against the parties for not complying with the Central Information Commission’s (CIC) order.
The CIC on June 3 had directed six national political parties to appoint public information officers to provide information under the RTI Act within six weeks. The deadline to appoint the information officers ended on Monday.
Only Communist Party of India appointed a public information officer who has provided information sought by two applicants — Subhash C Aggarwal and Anil Bairwal — as directed by the CIC.
“I would be filing a non-compliance complaint with the CIC as most of the parties have failed to provide the information sought,” said Anil Bairwal of Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). The CIC can take action against the parties only if they receive a complaint.
Most of the parties, including the Congress and the BJP, have opposed the CIC order and refused to implement it. According to them, the law can be misused and would create an unnecessary burden.
“It is a misconceived order,” information and broadcasting minister Manish Tiwari said on Monday. “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.”
The unanimous approach of the political parties had helped the UPA government draft an ordinance to amend the RTI Act to keep political parties out of its ambit. The government’s draft had stated that there are adequate provisions under the Income Tax Act and Representation of People’s Act to make political parties accountable to the people and therefore, there was no need to bring it under RTI.
However, the possibility of an ordinance shrunk on Monday when parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath announced the start of the Monsoon Session of Parliament from August 5. It is a precedent that an ordinance is normally not brought when the dates of a Parliament session are announced.