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Political parties under RTI: CIC puts matter in ‘abeyance’

 

 

Chief information commissioner R.K. Mathur has directed to keep ‘in abeyance’ the matter pertaining to political parties not adhering to the RTI Act

 

Political parties under RTI: CIC puts matter in ‘abeyance’ - Livemint

 

Respected Sirs,

 

I have gone through the decision of the I.C in this regard. But why to keep the matter in abeyance ? and giving a long rope to Registered major political parties. Are they not coming under Sec. 2 (h) of the RTI Act 2005 ?? I presumbly hope the decision to keep the issue in abeyance has been taken due to political pressures and certain other extraneous circumstances. Sir I was dealing with RTI Act 2005 jobs since the implementation of the rti act in Oct. 2005 and had had the opportunities to visit CIC office and had the opportunities to interact with previous Hon'ble Commissioners S/Shri Wajahat Habibulla, A. N Tiwary etc etc. But the present decision, in keeping the matter in abeyance is very strange relevant to Sec. 2(h) of the provisions of the Act. More over we are hearing the proposal to amend the act and render the same a toothless tiger.

 

Sirs, RTI.org a watch dog of RTI matters may kindly takeup the matter at the apex level and interact with Govt. and arrange to restore the dignity of the powerful RTI Act 2005 and restore the provisions as was before, without affecting the interests of the general citizens adversely.

 

KUNNAH MOHANDAS

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  • 3 months later...
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And the saga goes on.........

 

CIC uses delaying tactics by changing all the members of the bench that heard the case.

Now we know why it was delayed for so looooong...they waited for 2 of the 3 members to demit office so they

could reconstitute the bench and start hearing all over again.

 

[h=1]CIC reconstitutes bench to hear complaints against political parties[/h]

CIC reconstitutes bench to hear complaints against political parties | The Indian Express

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Please take it from me, political parties can certainly get out of the ambit of RTI Act to-day or tomorrow. Whether they are in or out makes no difference for a common man, as he can not prevent any happenings in stinking system. Citizens have seen the performance of those brooms already.

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[h=1]Partners in deceit[/h]

[h=2]Political parties stand together against transparency in politics[/h]

The Rajya Sabha election has once again brought to the fore what political unanimity means in India. I first encountered it in early 2001, when the Union of India filed an appeal in the Supreme Court (SC) against a decision of the Delhi High Court requiring candidates contesting elections to disclose pending criminal cases. Political unanimity was on display when several parties intervened in the case in support of the government. But the SC upheld the HC judgment.

 

Read More: Partners in deceit | The Indian Express

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Inline image 1

 

 

 

 

Sunday, August, 13, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Larger CIC bench on RTI cases relating to political parties not formed legally'

 

By PTI | Published: 13th August 2017 04:58 PM |

Last Updated: 13th August 2017 04:58 PM | A+A A- |

 

NEW DELHI: The four-member bench constituted by Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur to adjudicate complaints that political parties are not adhering to the provisions of the RTI Act has not been set up "properly and legally", a complainant has alleged.

 

Activist R K Jain, on whose petition the Delhi High Court had directed the CIC to decide the matter, has questioned the legality of the constitution of the new bench, which replaced the three-member panel under Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu.

 

The three-member panel headed by Acharyulu was hearing the matter since July 22, 2016, until Bimal Julka, one of its members, decided to recuse himself citing workload.

 

After his recusal, Mathur had put the matter in abeyance.

 

No member of the bench headed by Acharyulu, which had heard the matter for nearly five months, has found a place on the new panel.

 

Earlier, Acharyulu was taken off cases pertaining to the Ministry of Human Resource Development after he had ordered disclosure of academic records of the BA course of Delhi University of 1978, the year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is understood to have passed the examination.

 

In his objection submitted to the Commission, Jain, a lawyer, said the Chief Information Commissioner has no power under the RTI Act to dissolve an already constituted full bench of three Information Commissioners and form a fresh bench without assigning or recording any reason.

 

He said that none of the members on the new bench possesses legal qualification and experience in the legal field which goes against the directives of the Supreme Court in a separate matter related to the RTI Act.

 

"The full bench of three Information Commissioner, which has been dissolved, was presided by M S Acharyulu who is a legally qualified person being LL.M. and with experience in the legal field, while the present four-member bench constituted in place thereof, does not comprise any member who possesses legal qualifications and experience in the field of law," Jain claimed.

 

It is against the apex court directives, he added.

 

Citing a Gujarat High Court verdict, he said Chief Justice of the High Court cannot constitute a larger Bench unless the matter is referred to him by a competent bench for it.

 

He said none of the members of the three-member bench has referred the matter back to the Chief Information Commission, hence, he has no jurisdiction to constitute a further Larger Bench of four Information Commissioners.

 

"The constitution of a four-member bench is not in the interest of justice because large number of cases are listed before the said bench and if the bench is equally divided, then matter has to be reheard. This may delay the disposal of the present complaint...," he said.

 

A full Bench of the Commission had brought six national parties-- the Congress, the BJP, the NCP, the CPI, the CPM and the BSP under the ambit of the RTI Act on 3 June, 2013.

 

Jain had filed a complaint after he did not get any response to his RTI applications seeking to know the details of budget, constitution, elections etc in these political parties. Seeing delay in hearing the matter by the CIC, he had approached the Delhi High Court.

 

In 2014, the Delhi High Court had directed the CIC to complete the hearing in the matter within six months.

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I was reading an article which is mentioned below -

The whole system is playing pass - pass on question whether Political parties should come under RTI Act

In RTI Act 2005 Public authorities will come under rti is mentioned and all parties are public organisation and they should come under RTI

 

But please see following article than

The Indian Express Published:August 25, 2015 12:45 am

The government has opposed in Supreme Court a plea to bring political parties under the ambit of RTI Act, saying this would adversely impact their internal working and political functioning. Submitting an affidavit, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has said the Central Information Commission (CIC) erroneously ruled in June 2013 that political parties are public authorities under the RTI Act and, hence, are accountable under the transparency law.

“If political parties are held to be public authorities under RTI Act, it would hamper their smooth internal working, which is not the objective of the RTI Act and was not envisaged by Parliament. Further, it is apprehended that political rivals might file RTI applications with malicious intentions, adversely affecting their political functioning,” the affidavit stated.

The DoPT claimed that the CIC had made a “very liberal” interpretation of RTI Act, “leading to an erroneous conclusion” that political parties are public authorities.

In its judgment, the CIC had said political parties should be held accountable under the RTI Act since their constitution was akin to setting up a body by the government and they also performed public functions after availing various financial aid and concessions by the Centre. But this judgment remained on paper and the parties did not comply with the mandate of RTI Act.

Complaining non-compliance, applicants Subhash Chandra Aggarwal and Anil Bairwal of the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) approached the CIC which, in March, directed the DoPT to take action. ADR and Aggarwal moved a PIL in Supreme Court, seeking a declaration that political parties are public authorities and should disclose details of income and expenditure for public scrutiny.

A bench led by Chief Justice H L Dattu issued notice in July and the DoPT filed an affidavit last Friday, stating RTI Act never envisaged to bring political parties under its ambit. It said the CIC was wrong in its judgment since political parties cannot be termed as public authorities because they are formed neither under the Constitution nor under any law of Parliament. Performance of public duty is also not a condition mentioned under the law for defining a body as a public authority, it stated.

About checks on financial transactions of parties, the DoPT said there were provisions under the Representation of the People Act and the Income Tax Act, fastening a liability on them to make sufficient disclosure regarding income and expenditure.

Adequate provisions for explanations and penalties, it claimed, were also stipulated under these Acts and that Election Commission places all requisite information on its website. These provisions ensure adequate transparency in financial aspects of a political party, the DoPT said.

With a view to “annul the adverse effects of the erroneous conclusion by the CIC,” the government said, a Bill was introduced in 2013 to amend the RTI Act so as to specifically exclude political parties from the definition of public authority but it lapsed with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha in 2014.

 

 

 

 

My request to all website users is to please suggest something on

What can we do to bring political parties under RTI .

 

 

 

 

Recent newspaper article ---

 

The CIC has postponed the hearing by its newly constituted bench of complaints against political parties for not adhering to its order to function within the ambit of the RTI Act after a complainant alleged that it was not set up "properly and legally".

Noted lawyer and activist R K Jain has objected to the manner in which the earlier three-member bench headed by Sridhar Acharyulu was dissolved without assigning any reason and a new four-member bench was constituted by Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur.

Jain -- who is a petitioner in complaints filed against six national parties -- the BJP, the Congress, the CPM, the CPI, the BSP and the NCP -- has cited several verdicts of the Supreme Court and High Courts to buttress his claim that the new bench did not conform to courts' directives in various cases.

After the submissions were received, a meeting was called by the Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur where it was decided to defer the hearing scheduled for August 16 till legal opinion was taken.

In the file notings related to postponement of the hearing it was recorded, "It seems appropriate to seek legal opinion in the matter. The hearing by the bench in the matter may be postponed till a view is taken in the matter."

A full Bench of the Commission had brought six national parties-- the Congress, the BJP, the NCP, the CPI, the CPM and the BSP under the ambit of the RTI Act on 3 June, 2013. But these parties did not adhere to directives of the Commission and did not respond to RTI applications filed by Jain and other activists including Subhash Agrawal.

Jain filed a complaint against these parties with the Commission. Not getting a hearing, he approached the Delhi High Court which directed the CIC to complete the hearing within six months.

On July 22, 2016, a three-member Bench headed by Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu started hearing the matter and Bimal Julka, one of its members, decided to recuse himself citing workload in December last year. After his recusal, Mathur had put the matter in abeyance.

No member of the bench headed by Acharyulu, which had heard the matter for nearly five months, has found a place on the new panel.

Earlier, Acharyulu was taken off cases pertaining to the Ministry of Human Resource Development after he ordered disclosure of academic records of the BA course of Delhi University of 1978, the year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is understood to have passed the examination.

In his objection submitted to the Commission, Jain said the Chief Information Commissioner has no power under the RTI Act to dissolve an already constituted full bench of three information commissioners and form a fresh bench without assigning or recording any reason. He said that none of the members on the new bench possesses legal qualification and experience in the legal field which goes against the directives of the Supreme Court in a separate matter related to the RTI Act.

"The full bench of three Information Commissioners, which has been dissolved, was presided by M S Acharyulu who is a legally qualified person being LL.M. and with experience in the legal field, while the present four-member bench constituted in place thereof, does not comprise any member who possesses legal qualifications and experience in the field of law," Jain claimed. It is against the apex court directives, he added.

Citing a Gujarat High Court verdict, he said Chief Justice of the High Court cannot constitute a larger Bench unless the matter is referred to him by a competent bench. He said none of the members of the three-member bench has referred the matter back to the Chief Information Commissioner, hence, he has no jurisdiction to constitute a larger bench of four Information Commissioners.

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@shubhamkhatri,

 

Your post above has been merged with another thread on the same subject/topic.

This thread is 12 pages long.

Please read the entire thread.

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