Additional suggestions on the memorandum to the Parliamentary Standing Committee
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on
Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice
Date: 6-Oct-2013 (Sunday)
filed on 07.10.2013
I refer to my memorandum on the subject Bill submitted by email on 06.10.2013 (Sunday).
I have subsequently received additional suggestions on my memorandum which I wish to additionally submit as part of my aforesaid memorandum.
1) That merely having Political Parties under the RTI regime shall not promote transparency within / upon these bodies, as section 4(1)(b) Every public authority shall publish within one hundred and twenty days from the enactment of this Act,- (i) the particulars of its organisation, functions and duties; (ii) the powers and duties of its officers and employees; (iii) the procedure followed in the decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability; (iv) the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions; (v) the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its control or used by its employees for discharging its functions; (vi) a statement of the categories of documents that are held by it or under its control; (vii) the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by, the members of the public in relation to the formulation of its policy or implementation thereof; (viii) a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies consisting of two or more persons constituted as its part or for the purpose of its advice, and as to whether meetings of those boards, councils, committees and other bodies are open to the public, or the minutes of such meetings are accessible for public; (ix) a directory of its officers and employees; (x) the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations; (xi) the budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made; (xii) the manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the amounts allocated and the details of beneficiaries of such programmes; (xiii) particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorisations granted by it; (xiv) details in respect of the information, available to or held by it, reduced in an electronic form; (xv) the particulars of facilities available to citizens for obtaining information, including the working hours of a library or reading room, if maintained for public use; (xvi) the names, designations and other particulars of the Public Information Officers; (xvii) such other information as may be prescribed and thereafter update these publications every year; of RTI Act 2005 is presently not adequate for the purpose to enable an elector/voter to take informed decisions at moment of casting his ballot.
2) That the Representation of People's Act ("RP Act") does not sufficiently regulate the working and internal functioning of these parties, and there is no other legal framework to regulate the parties at the present time.
3) That whereas the RP Act has certain bare provisions concerning the sources of finance / donations for parties, there is no regulation/restriction on how the money is spent or used.
4) That the RP Act does not lay down that there shall be transparent criteria and procedures for selection/nomination of candidates by parties.
5) That the RP Act confers tremendous additional advantages to candidates of national political parties vis-a-vis the independent (citizen) candidates in an election.
That accordingly, the Hon'ble Committee may kindly simultaneously conduct a wide public consultation on LISTING the additional amendments to RTI Act 2005 and the RP Act with a view to ensuring complete transparency of political parties for the electors concerning, inter alia,
(i) All aspects of inner democracy(as defined in any organisation);
(ii) All Rules, Responsibilities, Functions, Duties and Privileges of various levels/ functionaries,
(iii) Discipline and Conduct Rules;
(iv) Selection criteria (Qualifications/ Experience, Reservation Rules) etc;
(v) Standard Operating Procedures/ Protocols of functioning of the Party organisation,
(vi) All aspects of revenue and expenditure;
(vii) Party's stand/position, in a structured format, on all aspects (as prescribed by Election Commission/ Parliament/ Assembly) dealing with subjects on which legislative powers could be exercised etc.
And for which we the people of India shall be ever grateful.
NB: I desire to appear in person to present my oral evidence.
Er. Sarbajit Roy