Press Release

CIC concedes to the non-compliance by the Political Parties: ADR to file a petition in a Court of Law

18th March, 2015

Putting an end to 22-month-long wait on non-compliance by the six National Political Parties of the 3rd June, 2013 CIC order declaring them as public authorities, the Central Information Commission (CIC) observed in its order dated 16th March 2015 that the RTI Act does not provide the Commission with ample powers to deal with the cases of contempt and non-compliance. The Complaint (CIC/CC/C/2015000182) was filed by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) along with Mr. Subhash Chandra Aggarwal.

Although CIC did not take any action against the political parties (INC, BJP, BSP, NCP, CPI and CPI-M) on non-compliance, however it has made it clear that its 3rd June 2013 order is “legally correct, and final.” We at ADR firmly believe that RTI Act has sufficient provisions to deal with the cases of non-compliance and contempt of the CIC’s orders.

Please find attached the order of the CIC dated 16th March, 2015. For the background of the case click here.

Highlights of the 16th March, 2015 CIC order:

  • CIC does not have power to implement its orders: CIC states that “the Commission is bereft of the tools to get its orders complied with.”

  • RTI Act has Gaps: CIC says “gaps” in the RTI act relating to the provisions of non-compliance are needed to be addressed.

  • CIC asks DOPT for redressal: CIC sends a copy of the order to the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) for taking action to address the legal gaps and issues in order to ensure the compliance of the Commission’s orders.

  • CIC directs complainants (ADR and Mr. Subhash Aggarwal): CIC suggests that “complainants are at liberty, in view of the facts and circumstances of this case, to approach the higher courts for appropriate relief and redressal.”

  • CIC’s Decision that Political Parties are under RTI is binding and final: CIC says that’s its 3rd June 2013 decision of declaring 6 National Political Parties is “binding and final.”

  • CIC stands by its order, 3rd June order is legally correct: Although CIC did not take any action against the parties on-compliance, however CIC has said “Not only is the 3rd June 2013 order “legally correct, it is convincing from the standpoint of the aims and objectives espoused by the RTI Act.”

  • CIC terms Political Parties stand as “wilful”: CIC surmises that “this is an unusual case of wilful non-compliance and highlights the need to identify the legal gap and lacunae in the implementation mechanism.”

ADR’s position

  1. ADR is going to file a petition in the Court asking for action against these 6 National Political Parties for non-compliance and contempt of the 3rdof June 2013 order as well as its implementation.

  2. CIC’s decision that law is silent on non-compliance is not correct. CIC should go by the spirit of the law and not the letter.

  3. Preamble of the RTI act as well the Sections 18, 19 and 20 gives ample powers to CIC to take action on non-compliance by the way of levying fine and awarding compensation, CIC therefore through this order is only abrogating its own power and authority.

  4. CIC is not a court of law. It is only a quasi-judicial body. Therefore, it should not go into the technicalities of the law.

Please find attached the order here: CIC order on non-compliance dated 16th March, 2015
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