Would the CPI(M) provide information to the RTI applicant?
An application has been filed to the CPI(M) Kerala State committee by a Thalassery-based RTI activist, P. Sharfuddin, seeking information about the inquiry conducted by the party into the murder of the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) leader T.P. Chandrasekharan. In the application addressed to the ‘State Public Information Officer’, the applicant has demanded detailed information like:
· an authorised copy of the inquiry report,
· details about the sittings of the inquiry panel like the names of the members of the panel and the number of sittings,
· dates and places of inquiry,
· authorised copies of the submissions made by the relatives and friends of Chandrasekharan before the commission,
· authorised copies of the submissions made by the party leaders and representatives of public authorities who had been heard by the commission during its inquiry into the murder, and
· the total money spent by the CPI(M) State committee for the enquiry.
The applicant has demanded the information within 48 hours invoking the life and liberty clause under section 7(1) Subject to the proviso to sub-section (2) of section 5 or the proviso to subsection (3) of section 6, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, on receipt of a request under section 6 shall, as expeditiously as possible, and in any case within thirty days of the receipt of the request, either provide the information on payment of such fee as may be prescribed or reject the request for any of the reasons specified in sections 8 and 9: of the Act. Quoting the Central Information Commission’s order No. CIC(SM)/C/2011/000838 whereby the six political parties, including the CPI(M) were directed to comply with the provisions of the RTI Act, the applicant has argued that the CPI(M) is expected to provide the information under the transparency law.
T.P Chandrasekharan (July 2, 1960 – May 4, 2012) was a leader of a breakaway group of Communist Party of India (Marxist) in village Onchiyam in Kozhikode district of Kerala, who was hacked to death on 4 May 2012. He broke away from CPI(M) to form Revolutionary Marxist Party in 2009, and his newly formed party tasted moderate success in local poll.
With the dates of the elections being declared, more such RTI applications are likely to be filed before the different political parties which might provide some ammunition to the opponents. It would be interesting to see how the political parties, who promise transparency in governance if they come to power, respond to the situation.