United in corruption: Bill to keep parties out of RTI ambit introduced, AAP condemns

New Delhi, Aug 12:  A bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha today to keep political parties out of the ambit of the RTI Act and negate a Central Information Commission (CIC) order to this
united in corruption bill to keep parties out of...
PTI August 12, 2013 18:44 IST
New Delhi, Aug 12:  A bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha today to keep political parties out of the ambit of the RTI Act and negate a Central Information Commission (CIC) order to this effect under the transparency law.



The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2013 seeks to insert an explanation in Section 2 of the Act which states that any association or body of individuals registered or recognised as political party under the Representation of the People Act, 1951 will not be considered a public authority.

The CIC order had termed Congress, BJP, BSP, NCP, CPI and CPI-M as political authorities.

"The expression authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted by any law made by Parliament shall not include any association or body of individuals registered or recognised as political party under the Representation of the People Act, 1951," the explanation reads.

Referring to the CIC order of June, the bill also makes it clear that anything contained in any judgement, decree or order of any court or commission will not affect the status of political parties recognised under the RP Act.

Since the CIC order on six major political parties came on June 3, the amended Act will come into force with retrospective effect from June 3.

"...with a view to remove the adverse effects of the said decision," the bill states that it is necessary to give "retrospective effect" to the proposed amendment.

The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill, introduced by Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy, states that "the government considers that the CIC has made a liberal interpretation of Section 2 (h) of the said (RTI) Act in its decision.

It points that there are already provisions in the RP Act as well as the Income Tax Act which deal with transparency in the financial aspects of political parties and their candidates.

"Declaring a political party as public authority under the RTI Act would hamper its smooth internal working...further, the political rivals may misuse the provisions of RTI Act, thereby adversely affecting the functioning of the political parties," the bill reads.

Aam Aadmi Party leaders Arvind Kejriwal, Kumar Vishwas and  Manish Sisodia today criticized the bill saying "now it was clear that all the political parties are united in corruption".

"That is why they never wanted a strong Lokpal Bill", said Kejriwal.

"The people of India will have to stand up against these corrupt political parties", the AAP leader said, adding "we have already disclosed our funding sources".

"Had the political parties come under RTI Act, they would have been bound to disclose their source of funding", said Kumar Vishwas.
 
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