The government is ready with an ordinance to overturn the Central Information Commission’s (CIC) order, which brought six major political parties under the RTI ambit. It has justified the move saying existing laws allow “adequate transparency” in their financial matters.
“Declaring political parties as public authorities under the Right to Information Act (RTI) would hamper their smooth internal functioning since it will encourage political rivals to file RTI applications with malicious intentions,” states the government’s internal note.
The note, jointly prepared by the law ministry and department of personnel, points out 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.”
The government proposes to amend the RTI Act 2005, through the ordinance to make it clear in the definition of the public authority itself that “it shall not include any political party registered under the Representation of People’s Act(RPA)” and no litigation related to this shall be entertained by any court of law.
“Political parties are not established by the Constitution. Parties are constituted by their registration under the RPA by the EC and they cannot be considered to be like a body set up by the government,” states the note.
Disagreeing with the June 3 order of the CIC, the government has stated it is unable to accept the ruling, which did not reflect the intention of Parliament in making the law on RTI.