What is the issue?
- The CIC has issued notice in connection with the non-compliance of its June, 2013 order to implement the RTI Act.
- The CIC had declared the 6 national parties as public authority as they perform public functions.
- The six national parties are BJP, Congress, NCP, CPI, CPI-M and BSP.
- In 3 June, 2013 order, CIC held that the parties are under ambit of RTI Act and are duty bound to answer queries from public.
- The six parties neither complied with the Commission's order nor challenged it in courts.
- The Commission has so far issued notices to the parties on February 7 and March 25 seeking their comments over not going by its order.
- On getting no response, the Commission has now issued a show cause notices to the party chiefs asking why an inquiry should not be initiated against them for non-compliance of its order.
What is RTI?
- The Right to information Act came into force in 2005.
- Under its provision, any citizen may request information from public authority which is required to reply expeditiously or within 30 days.
- The Act requires every public authority to computerise their record for wide dissemination.
- Refusal to provide information or not giving complete information is claimed as offence under RTI Act.
- It attracts a penalty for public information officer of a public authority of Rs 250 per day from the date the information was due.
What is CIC's stand?
- The CIC held that since all these parties are substantially financed by Central Government, they are public authority.
- Section 2 (vi)(ii) of the RTI Act states that ‘public authority includes any non-Government organisation substantially financed, directly or indirectly, funds provided by an appropriate Government.
Why political parties oppose being under RTI?
- The parties have so far refused to consider themselves public authorities.
- They say that they follow transparency norms by submitting information about their funds to poll panel and income tax authorities.
- Their stand is that it will be difficult for them to work if they are brought under RTI, as people would seek confidential information under RTI.
- The Congress tabled a RTI amendment Bill 2013 in Lok Sabha to keep political parties out of RTI ambit.