SC issues notice to govt and poll panel on application of RTI for political parties

Plea to declare all political parties as public authorities and bring them under RTI act

GN Bureau | July 7, 2015


#rti   #political parties   #election commission   #poll panel  

The supreme court on Tuesday issued notices to the government and election commission on a plea seeking to bring political parties under RTI (right to information act).

The petition filed the founding member of Association for Democratic Reforms, Prof Jagdeep S Chhokar, and RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal had sought transparency and accountability in functioning of recognised national and regional political parties. Its plea is to declare all national and regional political parties as "public authorities" and bring them within the ambit of Right to Information (RTI) act.

"Issue the appropriate writ declaring all national and regional political parties to be public authorities under the RTI act...and thereby fulfill all obligations under provisions of the said act," the petition said.

It claimed that the political parties receive huge sums of money in the form of donations and contributions from corporates, trusts and individuals but do not disclose complete information about the source of such donations.

It urged the apex court to direct all national and regional parties to mandatorily disclose details about their income as well as expenditure.

It also sought declaration of entire details of donations and funding received by the political parties, irrespective of the amount donated and details of donors making donations to them and to electoral trusts.

The petition claimed that political parties enjoyed a stronghold over their elected MPs and MLAs under Schedule 10 of the Constitution that makes it compulsory for members of either Houses of Parliament or state legislatures to abide by the directions of their parties, failing which they stand to be disqualified.

The central information commission (CIC), in both 2013 and March 16, 2015, had declared all national and regional political parties to be public authorities under the Right to Information Act, 2005. However,  Indian National Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Nationalist Congress Party and Bahujan Samaj Party have not complied with the repeated orders by the nation's top RTI body to disclose assets.

“Under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 all political parties must affirm their allegiance to the Constitution of India and such allegiance is made compulsory for the purpose of registration under sub-section (7) of Section 29A. Therefore, political parties so registered must furnish information to the public under the right of information under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India, since right of information has been held to be a part of freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a),” the petition, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, said.

It said the Law Commission of India in its 170th report on ‘Reform of the Electoral Laws’ in May 1999 had also recommended for transparency in the functioning of political parties specially focusing on financial transparency and accountability in their functioning.

It further said the Law Commission of India in its 255th Report on Electoral Reforms in March 2015 has also proposed its recommendations on the issue of disclosure obligations of political parties.

Comments

 

Other News

Phase 6: Voter turnout 59.06% at 7:45 PM

Polling in the sixth phase of General Elections 2024 which commenced across 58 PCs recorded an approximate voter turnout of 59.06% as of 7:45 pm Saturday. In spite of hot weather in certain parts of the country, voters were undeterred in their enthusiasm as they were seen queuing up patient

Banks not adhering to RBI guidelines, finds study

Banks across India are levying inconsistent service charges on basic savings accounts. A study, “Benchmarking Reasonableness of Service Charges by Banks in India”, uncovers and exposes inconsistencies in adherence to RBI mandates by banks. It finds some banks impose charges exceeding reasonable

“Mumbai Infra boom similar to that of Manhattan in 19th C”

Mumbai’s ongoing infrastructure boom – with a new coastal road, Atal Setu, metro lines and much more – creating transport corridors – is comparable to that of Manhattan in New York during 1811-1870, according to BMC commissioner Bhushan Gagrani. The iconic projects being implemented

Global Gandhi: How the Mahatma captured the world’s imagination

Gandhi’s Australia, Australia’s Gandhi By Thomas Weber Orient BlackSwan, 348 pages, Rs 1,800  

Urban apathy in Mumbai, Maharashtra sees 49% voting

Polling in the fifth phase of General Elections 2024 which commenced at 7 am on Monday simultaneously across 49 PCs recorded an approximate voter turnout of 57.47% as of 7:45 pm. Voters came out in large numbers braving hot weather in many parts of the states that went for polls on Monday.

Voter turnout: Drop from 2019 reduces further

As the voting percentages dropped drastically in the first couple of phases of the ongoing general elections, observers and analysts spoke of ‘voter apathy’ blamed it on a lack of “wave” this time – apart from the heatwave, that is. The latest figures after the fourth phase, h

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook Twitter Google Plus Linkedin Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter