New Delhi, July 8: The Association for Democratic Reforms which has been fighting for political reforms in India scored a major victory when the Supreme Court intervened in a matter seeking to declare political parties as public authorities.
The Supreme Court Bench comprising Chief Justice HL Dattu, Justice Arun Kumar Mishra and Justice Amitava Roy issued notices to the Election Commission of India, Government of India and also six political parties.
Declare political parties as public authorites:
The Supreme Court was petitioned seeking a directive to declare political parties as public authorities. The Supreme Court issued notices to the Election Commission of India, Central Government, BJP, Congress, BSP, CPI, CPI(M) and the NCP.
The court sought a response from all the above mentioned within six weeks.
The petition was necessitated by the refusal of the National Parties to comply with the CIC full Bench order of 3rd June 2013 declaring the National Political Parties to be "Public Authority "under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act.
On 16th March 2015, the CIC expressed helplessness in the matter and stated that the RTI Act does not provide the Commission with the ample power to deal with cases of contempt and non-compliances.
ADR told the court that under the present law, political parties exercise significant power under the anti-defection provisions given in the constitution when they can unseat representatives elected by the people if they vote against the wishes of the party.
Prof. Jagdeep Chhokar, founder member of ADR said that, "I hope the Supreme Court will undo the damage done by the CIC in expressing its inability to get its decision implemented."
The petitioners argued that the political parties play an important role in the formation of government, policy decisions and enactment of laws therefore they should be more transparent in their working and accountable towards citizen at large.