Source: 
The Economic Times
http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-07-09/news/40469570_1_cic-order-six-national-parties-congress-central-information-commission
Date: 
09.07.2013
City: 
New Delhi

NEW DELHI: Government is unlikely to challenge the order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) bringing six major parties within the purview of the Right to Information Act (RTI) and instead bring an ordinance or take the legislative route to overturn it.

Highly-placed sources in the Law Ministry today said that the CIC order would not be challenged by the government in the high court - the appellate court for such issues.

Instead, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) could either bring an ordinance or move a bill in the next session of Parliament to overturn the CIC order.

One view is that government may opt for an ordinance route as the six-week deadlines given to these political parties by the CIC to appoint designate information officers and appellate authorities is ending on July 15. But the government is yet to take a final call on the issue.

It is learnt that Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who is also leader of the House in Lok Sabha, is in touch with major political parties on the issue. There is a near unanimity among the political parties against the CIC order.

If a bill is not introduced and an ordinance is issued, it will have to be replaced by a legislation in the next session of Parliament.

The Commission had in its June 3 order said six national parties-- Congress, BJP, NCP, CPI-M, CPI and BSP-- have been substantially funded indirectly by the central government and they have the character of public authority under the RTI Act as they perform public functions.

The DoPT has obtained a draft ordinance from the Law Ministry to amend the Act, based on which it is readying its proposal.

It is learnt that the proposed amendment to Section 2 of RTI Act will make it clear that political parties cannot be categorised as 'public authorities' and they are in fact 'association of individuals'.

Political parties could also be added in the list of organisations (Section 8) exempted from parting information under the information act.

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