New Delhi

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has issued a show cause notice to six major political parties for non-compliance with its June 2013 order directing them to designate Chief Public Information Officers (CPIOs) and appellate authorities at their headquarters.

The CIC will conduct a hearing on November 21 where the six parties including Congress, BJP, NCP, CPI (M), CPI and BSP will have to reply to the notice and justify as to why no action should be initiated against them for non-compliance with the RTI Act.

An activist from the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said that the CIC’s full bench on June 3 last year had declared that these six parties were public authorities and came under the purview of the RTI Act.

The ADR on Thursday issued a statement which read: ‘The CIC, a statutory body, had held on June 3, 2013, that the INC, BJP, CPI (M), CPI, NCP and BSP have been substantially financed by the Central government under Section 2(h) (ii) of the RTI Act. The criticality of the role being played by these political parties in our democratic set up and the nature of duties performed by them also point towards their public character, bringing them in the ambit of section 2(h). The constitutional and legal provisions discussed in the CIC decision also point towards their character as public authorities.”

As per the statement, the CPIOs appointed were required to respond to RTI applications in four weeks’ time. “However, it’s been more than 17 months since the CIC’s order and till now, none of the six political parties have complied with the order, nor have any of them taken any other recourse such as approaching the courts against the decision of the commission, nor adopted any of the procedures for processing the RTI application as given in the transparency law,” it said.

ADR member Sharad Kumar also lambasted the political parties for open defiance of a statutory authority.

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