SC to examine, ‘Can the complete details about income, expenditure, donations, etc. of Political Parties be sought under RTI?’

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New Delhi: A disclosure of complete details of income and expenditure of political parties, such as Congress, Bhartiya Janata Party- BJP, Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M), Communist Party of India -CPI, Bahujan Samaj Party- BSP and National Congress Party- NCP, sought to be directed by the honourable Supreme Court of India. Said directions are claimed by the Association for Democratic Reforms, which has filed a Public Interest Litigation- PIL along with one Subhash Chandra Agrawa, an Activist in Right to Information.

It is sought to be maintained by the petitioners in said PIL that each and every political parties come within the purview of ‘Public Authorities’ as defined within the provisions of the Right to Information Act, 2005 and as such they should be accountable within the Central Information Commissioner’s two order, being Order of June, 2013 and March, 2015.

The claim of petitioner not only limited to the seeking of complete details of income and expenditure of those national and regional political parties, but also in the same PIL, the complete details of Donations and Funding which such political parties have received along with the Donors’ names.

Six political parties, such as Congress, Bhartiya Janata Party- BJP, Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M), Nationalist Congress Party- NCP, Communist Party of India- CPI and BSP- Bahujan Samaj Party were declared as Public Authorities for the purpose of Right to Information Act, 2005 and as such they will be obliged to disclose their information which if sought within the provisions of that Act. Such declaration was made by the ‘Central Information Commission- CIC’ by its June 3, 2013.

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Besides aforementioned claims, the Petitioners also sought to maintain in the said PIL, that the Political Parties being under power, through their elected Members have a significant de facto control up on the Law making organ and executive organ.

The constitutional provisions, i.e. tenth schedule thereof requires the elected Members to the Law making Organs should toe the Party line, and failing to which will result in disqualification from the Membership thereof.

The 170th Report of the Law Commission of India is referred by the Petitioner in their petition contending that the said report contains the recommendations for having transparency in the functioning of the Political Parties. More specifically, the recommendations focus the Internal democracy, accountability in Working and Financial Transparency.

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by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.