Renewed political attack on Right To Information (RTI) Act to exempt political parties from its purview has brought together friends turned foe Aruna Roy and Arvind Kejriwal together.
They issued a joint statement anchored by former central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, who asked them to come together for a cause --- beat the desire of the political parties to kill RTI through an amendment.
“There are reports that the government is thinking of promulgating an Ordinance to amend the Right To Information Act. This Act was passed by our Parliament and has now become part of the extremely valuable citizen empowerment for our democracy,” said the statement issued by 13 eminent activist including Roy and Kejriwal.
They also appealed to the government and all political parties to drop any consideration of amending the RTI Act saying there was no emergency requiring an Ordinance.
In a separate statement, Aruna Roy’s National Campaign for People’s Right To Information (NCPRI) said it was opposed to amending the RTI Act. “We believe that the CIC order will go a long way in ensuring transparency and accountability in the functioning of political parties. Inclusion of political parties under the RTI Act will ensure that parties are accountable to the people of the country,” the NCPRI statement read.
The NCPRI said that if the government and political parties have any objections to the order of the CIC, the appropriate response would be to challenge the order in court. In the past, the government and other organizations have often challenged CIC judgements in the court.
“This only goes to show that when political parties themselves are subject to the transparency law, they are willing to go to the extent of amending this landmark legislation to ensure that they are not open to public scrutiny under the Act, the NCPRI said.
The NCPRI has opposed any proposal to amend or dilute the RTI Act.