Political parties are not covered under RTI, says CIC

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New Delhi, July 31(ANI): The Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled that political parties are not covered under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Dismissing a petition filed by an RTI applicant, Balwant Singh Khera, Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said political parties could not be covered under the act just because they are provided government subsidies like premises at prime locations and free airtime for media broadcast during elections among others.

Khera who hails from Hoshiarpur in Punjab has sought some information from 12 political parties including Congress, BJP, CPI, CPM among others but did not get any answer from them.

While CPI, CPI (M) replied that they are not covered under the RTI Act, Janata Dal (United) simply returned his application with the fee. The remaining parties did not send any reply to his application, Khera said.

In his ruling Habibullah said even under Section 2 (h) of the RTI Act simply concessions provided to any private agency by the Government cannot be construed as that agency being owned, controlled or substantially financed directly or indirectly by funds provided by the Government.

Khera argued before the Commission that Section 2 (h) (ii) of the RTI Act mentions that 'non Government organisation substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate government' are covered under the Act.

Habibullah said in his decision that, "the CIC cannot agree that political parties fall within definition of public authority as defined in any clauses of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act. (ANI)

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