CIC notice to Rajnath, Sonia, Mayawati, Pawar, Karat
New Delhi, Jul 17: The Central Information Commission has issued fresh notices naming top leaders of six national parties -- Rajnath Singh, Mayawati, Sonia Gandhi, Prakash Karat, Sharad Pawar and Sudhakar Reddy -- asking them to appear before it in cases filed by activists for not responding to RTI queries.
The named notices were issued after one of the complainants R K Jain alleged that Registrar of CIC had adopted double standards in handling his complaints against the six national political parties - BJP, Congress, BSP, NCP, CPI(M) and CPI, by only naming Gandhi while the notices to others were sent to the party chiefs.
After the CIC declared these parties answerable under RTI Act in 2013, Jain had filed RTI applications with Congress and other political parties seeking details of donations, funding, internal elections of the parties, in February, 2014 and after getting no response from them, moved the CIC with a complaint.
The leaders have been asked to present their case on July 22 before full bench of the Commission comprising Information Commissioners Bimal Julka, Sridhar Acharyulu and Sudhir Bhargava which will hear the plea of Jain.
"Take notice that if you fail to furnish your comments/reply by 20th July, 2016 and fail to appear on the aforesaid date and time, it will be presumed that you have nothing to say in your defence and the matter will be processed further as per law," the notice said.
Earlier, a notice was issued to Gandhi by name while notices to rest of the parties were issued in the name of their Presidents/General Secretaries to which Jain had objected and complained to Chief Information Commissioner.
In his complaint to Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur against CIC Registrar M K Sharma, Jain alleged he had adopted double standards in issuing notice to Sonia Gandhi "by name" as Congress President, while the names of Rajnath Singh, Prakash Karat, Sharad Pawar, Mayawati and S Sudhakar Reddy, were omitted though the complaints named them specifically.
Giving an example, Jain had alleged that the then BJP President Rajnath Singh had specifically been named in his complaint, while the present notice issued by the Registrar is to the President, BJP.
"At present, Amit Shah is the President of BJP, thus Rajnath Singh has illegally and indirectly been exonerated by M K Sharma," Jain alleged.
"The effect of omission of the name of the persons accused in the complaints from the notice issued by M K Sharma, Registrar is the shifting of the penal consequences to a person other than the one named in the complaint," Jain had said in his complaint to Mathur, filed on June 15.
He said as per the provisions of Section 20 of the RTI Act, the penalty is imposable on a person, individually and personally, therefore such proceedings are in personam, and if the name of the person against whom the complaint has been filed is omitted from the notice/proceedings, he cannot be visited with penal consequences.