All the major political parties, except the Communist Party of India (CPI), have refused to furnish information on the donations received by them.
The Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) that had sought the information under the Right to Information Act from these political parties has now approached the central information commission (CIC) which would take up the matter on September 26.
The RTI pleas were filed with all the parties in 2011. They were asked to provide details about the sources and methods of receiving donations to run their organisation.
"In response, all political parties, barring the Communist Party of India (CPI), declined to give the information," a press communique issued by ADR said on Saturday.
Some information about the donations received by the parties came into the public domain earlier this month on the basis of information by the income tax department and the Election Commission of India to queries filed under the RTI.
As per the ADR statement, the CPI provided the information about their main donors, their addresses, and mode of payment. Other parties, including the Congress, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), either did not reply or denied information saying that they did not come under the purview of the transparency act. In a letter signed by CPI general secretary AB Bardhan, the party said that as a 'public authority' the organisation is substantially financed directly or indirectly by government funds.
However, the Congress, according to ADR, returned the RTI letter along with the postal order, saying it does not come under the RTI. The BJP and the BSP did not respond to the applications said the statement.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), in its reply, said that it didn't have enough manpower to provide the information. The Communist Party of India Marxist (CPIM) also returned the RTI application along with the postal order saying that it is not a public authority, and hence not entitled to provide information under the provisions of RTI Act.
"On the basis of these replies, the ADR had filed a complaint with the CIC in March 2011. It has now come up for hearing along with another complaint," the statement added. The ADR said that leaders of all political parties publicly maintain that they are committed to transparency and probity in their functioning. "However, when it comes to the implementation, their behaviour is completely opposite. These replies bring to the fore the biggest farce that our democracy is plagued with," it added
A study conducted by the ADR recently had revealed that the major source of the income of political parties in India is through donations and voluntary contributions.