Parties oppose CIC ruling

Parties oppose CIC ruling

Parties oppose CIC ruling

Finance Minister P Chidambaram said here on Tuesday that the Chief Information Commission’s (CIC’s) order bringing political parties within the ambit of the Right to Information Act was not “based on credible argument,” while the ruling Congress strongly opposed it and termed it adventurism.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said it was not against any move that was made towards greater transparency and accountability, but added that the Election Commission should give its view on the CIC order. A BJP ally, Janata Dal-United, opposed the CIC order and demanded that the Centre scuttle such moves.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) said such a move would “interfere with and hamper the functioning of a political party.”

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid saw logic of RTI. “And this is reflected in its orders. The logic will be tested at various levels. including by courts. I think we should be overtly sensitive to the evolving nature of RTI but, at the same time, I think it is important to keep a practical control of RTI objectives because it cannot be allowed to run riot,” he said.

Govt studying order

Official sources said the government was studying the order of the CIC and would take into account the views expressed by political parties.

“It is not acceptable. We totally disagree with it. Such adventurism will create a lot of harm and damage to democratic institutions,” All India Congress Committee general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told journalists on Tuesday.

The CIC on Monday held that the Congress, BJP, Nationalist Congress Party, Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxists (CPM) and the Bahujan Samaj Party had been substantially funded indirectly by the Centre and they had the character of public authority under the RTI Act as they performed public functions.

Dwivedi said the CIC move would encroach upon the right to privacy of political parties, which did not receive any grants from the government and were voluntary organisations. He noted that the political parties were the mainstay of democracy which could not and should not be weakened. “Getting political parties entangled in such unnecessary things will damage the democratic process. We simply cannot accept it,” he added.

Though the BJP appeared to be still in the process of framing its opinion on the issue, party spokesman Prakash Javadekar said the Election Commission should give an opinion on the CIC’s order. “This is an issue concerning the political parties and it will be in the purview of Election Commission as well,” he added.

The CPM termed “untrue” the CIC’s observation that the six national parties were substantially financed by the Centre. The party said the bulk of the funding and finances for the parties did not come from the government or any state institution. “In fact, the CPM does not even accept funds from the corporate, which is legally permissible,” the party said in a statement.

Voices of opposition

It is not acceptable. We totally disagree with it. Such adventurist approach will create a lot of harm and damage to democratic institutions.

Janardan Dwivedi, AICC general secretary

BJP is not against anything that brings transparency and accountability which is equally applicable to all. We will follow the law.

Capt Abhimanyu, BJP spokesperson

CIC order is in no way justified as political parties are not shops.

Sharad Yadav,  JD-U president

This decision is based on a fundamental misconception about the role of political parties in a parliamentary democracy. This will interfere with and hamper the functioning of a political party.

CPM statement