New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a response from the Centre and six leading political parties on whether national political parties should be declared as "public authorities" so that they come under the ambit of RTI Act.

The court issued notices to the government, election commission of India (ECI) and the BJP, Congress, BSP, CPI, CPI(M) and NCP, and sought replies within six weeks.

A bench headed by chief justice of India HL Dattu issued the notice while admitting a petition filed by an NGO--Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal seeking an order to declare all the national political parties as public authorities.

The petition was filed after their refusal to comply with the Central Information Commission (CIC) order of June 3, 2013, declaring the national political parties to be public authority under Section 2(h) of the Right To Information (RTI) Act.

Again on March 16 this year, the CIC expressed helplessness in the matter and stated that the RTI Act does not provide a transparent panel with ample power to deal with cases of contempt and non-compliance.

Appearing for the NGO, advocate Prashant Bhushan sought a direction that political parties should be asked to declare all donations, including those below Rs 20,000.

Bhushan told the court that under the present law, political parties exercise significant power under the anti-defection provisions given in the constitution when they can unseat representatives elected by the people if they vote against the wishes of the party.

They also control the legislature and the law-making process, Bhushan rgued.

According to the NGO's plea, political parties receive huge sums of money in form of donations and contributions from corporates, trusts and individuals but do not disclose complete information about the source of such donations and they should mandatorily disclose details of their income as well as expenditure.

© Association for Democratic Reforms
Privacy And Terms Of Use
Donation Payment Method