Extent of finance to political parties to be calculated for coverage under RTI
Considering the fact that many political parties receive benefits from the government in the form of subsidised buildings for offices, free air-time and various tax exemption, the Chief Information Commission has decided to seek a report from Income Tax department and Directorate of Estate regarding tax exemptions claimed by political parties and their assets.
On the basis of this report, the CIC will ascertain whether or not the indirect funding from the government is substantial enough to bring these political parties under the purview of Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The recent move by the CIC follows the hearing of appeal by the CIC on the issue. As per the 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 RTI Act, even the NGOs which are substantially financed, directly or indirectly, by funds provided by the government are liable to reply to designate a Public Information Officer (PIO) to reply to applications filed under the transparency law.