Hyderabad: The Lok Satta Party said here on Saturday that it would legally challenge the Union Government`s "bid to exempt political parties from the ambit of the Right to Information Act (RTI)".
"The attempt of political parties to deny people knowledge about their working is nothing but a conspiracy against democracy and voters. It will be the height of absurdity if political parties claim immunity from public scrutiny under the RTI Act," Lok Satta Party national president N Jayaprakash Narayan said in a statement.
He observed that political parties were not private estates, but merely vehicles for political participation of citizens and thus were not different from any other voluntary organisation or civil society group.
"It (political party) is a free association of citizens for a collective purpose. The RTI Act covers all the voluntary organisations that receive substantial assistance from the government.
"The Administrative Reforms Commission stipulated that any financial assistance of Rs 1 crore or more or constitutes 50 per cent of the operational budget of the organisation is substantial," Narayan, a former member of the Commission, pointed out.
He added that any political party was more than a voluntary organisation in that it "seeks people`s votes, aspires for power, wants to influence how the government spends public money and takes part in law making."
Bringing political parties under the RTI Act did not mean that their internal deliberations or strategies must be made public.
"But the people have a right to know their norms for party membership, election of leaders, choice of candidates in elections and collection of funds. The parties have an obligation to disclose the basis for articulating certain policies and how they propose to raise funds for implementing them," he added.