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HindustanTimes Sun,24 Aug 2014

SIC summoned PIOs of SAD, BJP before full bench on denial of RTI information

Sanjeev Bhalla , Hindustan Times  Jalandhar, December 08, 2013
First Published: 19:23 IST(8/12/2013) | Last Updated: 19:25 IST(8/12/2013)

The State Information Commission has told the public information officers (PIOs) of both the Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP to appear before the full bench of the commission on December 18.

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Hearing a complaint by HELP, a Nawanshahr-based NGO, that the two parties had failed to supply the information sought on the expenditure incurred on the Chintan Shivir organised in Goa in April, the commission summoned the PIOs to appear before the bench comprising commissioners BC Thakur, Chander Parkash and Surinder Awasthi.

The NGO, through its general secretary Parwinder Singh Kitna, had sought information on July 19 from both the parties on those who had attended the shivir and the expenditure incurred by both the parties along with copies of bills and receipts on transportation, boarding, lodging, food and beverages and tourism of the leaders who attended the shivir.

From BJP, the NGO had demanded a list and details of those who had donated more than Rs. 20,000, along with the copies of the income tax returns.

"The information was sought in public interest as both the parties had spent lavishly and without any proper account for the outing and entertainment of their leaders. Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal had stated earlier that it was not done from the state exchequer, then why was the party hesitant in replying to our queries," Kitna told HT.

"The decision of the SIC will help include parties like the SAD in the ambit of the Right to Information Act, and if needed, we would approach the Punjab and Haryana high court to seek further directions," he added.

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