ADR plans to challenge the CIC order against political parties in High Court
Against the order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) dated March 16, 2015, the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-profit, plans to file a petition to the High Court. (For order please refer to the link - http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/cic-penalty-cannot-be-imposed-political-parties-ha#.VQoyW9KUe1U ).The CIC had earlier declared the six national political parties as a public authority but had expressed its inability to take any action against them for non compliance of its order. The CIC observed that the RTI Act, 2005 does not provide it with sufficient powers to deal with the non-compliance and sent a copy of the order to DoPT pointing to the alleged lacuna in law. The CIC had also observed that the complainants are at liberty to approach the higher courts for appropriate relief and redressal.
The six national parties which were held as public authority under section 2(h) “public authority” means any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted (a) by or under the Constitution; (b) by any other law made by Parliament; (c) by any other law made by State Legislature; (d) by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any- (i) body owned, controlled or substantially financed; (ii) non-Government organization substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government; of the RTI Act are the Congress, BJP, BSP, NCP, CPI and CPI(M). None of the political parties have designated a Public Information Officer (PIO) or a First Appellate Authority (FAA).
The ADR has criticised the CIC order as abrogation of its own power and authority, and has alleged that the preamble of the RTI Act as well Sections 18, 19 and 20 give ample powers to the information commission to take action for non-compliance by imposing penalty and granting compensation.