Are political parties covered under the RTI Act?
The hearing of the full bench of the Central Information Commission (CIC) could not be concluded following non-appearance of 4 out of the six major political parties in the hearing before the bench. The bench had asked at least six political parties to respond in the case - CPI(M), All India Congress committee, NCP, CPI, BSP and BJP along with the PIO of the Election Commission of India to appear. In the hearing before the CIC only the representatives of only two political parties appeared, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and CPI. CPI representative stated that morally speaking, political parties should provide information under RTI but technically speaking, political parties do not come under RTI.
The question before the full bench consisting of the Chief Information Commissioner Mr. Satyanand Mishra and Information Commissioners Mrs. Annupurna Dixit and Mr. ML Sharma was whether the political parties are covered under the ambit of Right to Information (RTI) Act or not.
The Commission has asked the parties to give their written submissions within a week and the next date of hearing into the matter is yet to be fixed.