Chorus grows to bring political parties under RTI
Members of the Socialist Party (India) and Association for Democratic Reforms participate in the discussion to bring political parties under the RTI in Jalandhar. Tribune Photo: Malkiat Singh

The Socialist Party (India) and the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) today reiterated their demand of bringing all political parties under the ambience of the Right to Information Act (RTI).

A discussion was held today by the Socialist Party (India) on the same issue at the Punjab Press Club, Jalandhar, where Prof Jagdish Chokhar of the ADR was the key speaker.

Addressing the session, Prof Jagdish Chokhar said bringing political parties under the ambience of the RTI would fetch revolutionary changes in the Indian democracy. With transparency and accountability in political parties, the democratic values would get strengthened.

He said Balwant Khera of the Socialist Party (India) had raised the issue in 2009. Apart from this, the ADR also filed a petition in the Central Information Commission (CIC).

Chokhar said the Central Information Commission (CIC) stated that the ‘commission was bereft of the tools to get its orders complied with’. “The CIC has declared in its earlier order that political parties were public authorities under the RTI Act and the order was final and binding. However, later, the CIC also expressed its inability to implement the orders,” he said.

Chokar questioned as to why the political parties were avoiding becoming transparent and coming under the RTI when they claim to work in the public domain and on public issues.

“The six political parties taken into account were the Congress, the BJP, the BSP, the NCP, the CPI and the CPM. Though all these parties have annual income amounting to a whopping Rs 1,000 crores, they have been finding excuses to file Income Tax returns and come under the RTI,” he said.

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