New Delhi

NEW DELHI: The central information commission (CIC) on Friday will seek responses from the six national political parties on complaints of non-compliance of its order that they come within the ambit of RTI Act.

The non-compliance notice comes 17 months after blatant violation of the commission's order that recognized all political parties as public authorities and directed them to put in place mechanisms to address RTI queries. The issue gains urgency with a bill exempting political parties from RTI pending before Parliament. 

On June 3, 2013 CIC had declared Congress, BJP, CPI, CPM, NCP and BSP as public authorities answerable under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and given them six weeks to comply with the mandatory requirements under the law for the processing of information seeking applications. But none of the political parties followed the directives of the quasi-judicial body. 

Following the non-compliance activists Subhash Agrawal, R K Jain and NGO Association for Democratic Reforms filed complaints with the CIC. 

"It's been more than 17 months since the CIC's order and till now none of the six political parties has complied with the CIC's order ... This is a clear case of open defiance of a statutory authority by the six political parties and is not conducive to the functioning of a democratic society," ADR said in a statement. 

It further said that this non-compliance has a "very serious detrimental effect on the state of democracy in the country at large". 

A bench of Vijai Sharma, Manjula Parashar and Sharat Sabharwal will hear the complaint. 

The complainants said the non-compliance has created an impression in the minds of the people that the rule of law exists only for common persons, and all institutions and people who enjoy some authority, formal or informal, and political parties in particular, are above the law. 

"If political parties and Union government were not agreeable to CIC-verdict, they should have challenged the CIC-verdict in court. Even legislation to amend RTI Act for the purpose was deferred despite parliamentary committee's recommendations perhaps because the then attorney general opined against such legislation," Agrawal said. 

While declaring the political parties answerable to public under the RTI Act, CIC, had held that they have been substantially financed by the central government bringing them under the RTI Act.

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