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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

Cabinet keeps info activists off politicians’ backs

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 01, 2013
First Published: 20:21 IST(1/8/2013) | Last Updated: 02:24 IST(2/8/2013)

The cabinet on Thursday gave its nod to keep political parties out of the RTI Act by approving changes in the law to overturn the central information panel’s ruling on the issue.

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The proposed amendment, to be placed before Parliament on Monday, states that the definition of public authority “shall not include any political party registered under the Representation of People’s Act and no litigation related to this shall be entertained by any court of law.”

The CIC had on June 3 ruled that six major political parties, including the Congress and the BJP, are covered under the law and citizens are free to seek information from them.

This led to a political storm and parties across the spectrum, except the CPI and the Aam Aadmi Party, shed their differences to slam the CIC ruling, which eventually led to the government agreeing to amend the RTI Act.   

HT had first reported on June 28 about the government’s move to amend the RTI Act to keep political parties out of its ambit.

“Declaring political parties as public authorities under the Right to Information Act would hamper their smooth internal functioning since it will encourage political rivals to file RTI applications with malicious intentions,” stated the government’s note seeking an amendment in the law.

The government has justified its decision stating that the existing laws – Representation of People’s Act and the Income Tax Act – provide “adequate transparency in respect of financial aspects of political parties”.


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