CIC to enquire into the compliance of its order by political parties
In continuation with the issue of bringing out the six national political parties within the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has fixed November 21 as the date of next hearing. The CIC was hearing a complaint of non-compliance by six political parties of its full-bench verdict dated June 3, 2013 which held that the political parties are covered under the definition of the “public authority” and hence are covered under the RTI Act. The political parties were directed to designate Public Information Officers (CPIOs) and the First Appellate Authorities to deal with the RTI applications and further, they were asked to make pro-active disclosure as per the provisions of 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 the RTI Act.
Readers may refer to the article - “Political parties are covered under Right to Information Act as public authority” at: http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/political-parties-are-covered-under-right-informat#.VGF2HjSUclA
As the political parties failed to comply with the CIC order, the CIC had issued a series of reminders culminating into a show cause notice why on September 10 as to why an inquiry should not be initiated in the matter of non-compliance of the order of the CIC dated June 3. The CIC has so far received a response only from four out of the six national political parties viz. CPI(M), CPI, AICC and NCP while the BJP and BSP have yet to respond. After perusing the responses received, the CIC issued a notice to the political parties under section 18(2) Where the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to inquire into the matter, it may initiate an inquiry in respect thereof. of the RTI Act as it found that there are reasonable grounds to inquire into the matter. The CIC has now asked the parties to appear before the Commission either in person or through a duly authorised representative at 1600 hrs on November 21, alongwith all relevant documents/records relating to the matter. The parties are expected to inform about the action taken by them in pursuance of the CIC order dated June 03, 2013.
The notices were issued to President\General Secretaries of the six parties says that that if the parties fail to respond to the notice within the prescribed time, the matter will be processed further on the strength of the material on record, in accordance with law.
For some of the past articles on the issue, please refer to:-
1. Transparency of Political Party Financing - An International Perspective
Read more at: http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/transparency-political-party-financing-internation#.VGFyNDSUclA
2. The ‘secret’ cabinet note to exclude the political parties out of RTI Act made public
Read more at: http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/%E2%80%98secret%E2%80%99-cabinet-note-exclude-political-parties-ou#.VGFx9DSUclA
3. Can the political parties be termed as private bodies?
Read more at: http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/can-political-parties-be-termed-private-bodies#.VGFxtDSUclA
4. Excluding Political Parties from the RTI Act may violate Article 14 of the Constitution
Read more at: http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/excluding-political-parties-rti-act-may-violate-ar#.VGFxgzSUclA
5. CIC issues notices to six political parties for non-implementation of RTI Act
Read more at: http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/cic-issues-notices-six-political-parties-non-imple#.VGFxMjSUclA
6. Why is the CIC full bench order not being implemented?
Read more at: http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/why-cic-full-bench-order-not-being-implemented#.VGFw3DSUclA