Home / Latest News / CPI(M) pleads to SC: Right to Information Act (RTI) is an undemocratic infringement if applied to Political Parties

CPI(M) pleads to SC: Right to Information Act (RTI) is an undemocratic infringement if applied to Political Parties

Indian Supreme Court to decide if Political Parties can be covered under RTI
Indian Supreme Court to decide if Political Parties can be covered under RTI

March,7,2016: Bringing a political party under the Right to Information Act will lead to an undemocratic infringement on its confidential discussions, including its attitude to the government and plans to organise agitations against the “wrong policies of the government”, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury has told the Supreme Court.

On behalf of his party, Mr. Yechury made the statement in an affidavit filed in response to the Supreme Court’s query why parties should not be declared “public authorities” under the Right to Information Act, 2005.

If the court decides that parties are indeed public authorities, six national parties involved in the litigation will be accountable to the public and will have to disclose the details of their income, expenditure, funding and donations and the identity of donors.

Besides the Congress and the BJP, the petition filed by RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agarwal and NGO Association for Democratic Rights arraigns the CPI(M), the CPI, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

The petition is based on orders of the Central Information Commission in 2013 and on March 16, 2015, declaring all national and regional parties public authorities.

In a nuanced response, Mr. Yechury said his party believed in transparency and giving the public access to the financial details of political parties. But the CIC’s order to declare parties public authorities was wrong in facts and law.

For one, Mr. Yechury argued, a political party is a “voluntary association of citizens” who believe in an ideology. They hold free and frank discussions. Declaration of a party as a public authority would “destabilise the very party system in the country.”

Opponents would use the RTI Act as a tool to gain access to confidential information. “In a democratic political system, protection is granted to political parties to keep the confidentiality of the inner-party discussions on policies, programmes, assessment of other political parties, the governments, attitude towards them, chalking out agitations and struggles against the wrong policies of the government, preparation of manifestos, selection of candidates and leaders to the various levels of the party…,” the affidavit said. Hindu

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Right to Information Act,2005

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2 comments

  1. How about bringing the various illegal activities of foreign and domestic intelligence agencies operating in India under the RTI Act? All these agencies are involved in clandestine surveillance over India and Indians.

  2. RTIFED COMMENTS:

    This is a great disrespect of the Law that was enacted by the the same bunch of MPs now those are the same who are crying the foul.

    MPs, and for that matter all political class thinks it is above the law and they should not be touched.

    This is their prodigious misconception. They are not only as prone to the law as any ordinary citizen is, they are more responsible for the implementation of the law by first offering to apply on themselves to set an example in the public. Their tendency (like a hereditary chronic disease) to get a chest pain as the law approaches them has to be cured and cured permanently.

    The people can do this. People has the power to do this and RTIFED hopes that the People will do this in the times to come!!

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