Omar Abdullah pitches for political parties under RTI Act

Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah made strong pitch for political parties opening their records to the public through the transparency law.

Updated: Sep 03, 2013, 20:20 PM IST

New Delhi: Even as Parliament is considering to amend the RTI Act to exclude political parties from its ambit, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday made strong pitch for opening their records to the public through the transparency law.

In his valedictory speech at the eighth convention of the Central Information Commission, Omar said he was not sure whether his party would agree with his views but if political parties are availing Income Tax exemption, they should be accountable to the people.

"As of now, my party is not on that list of parties that have to be part of the right to information and I don`t know whether my party will agree with what I have to say. But if I they did ask me what I thought, I would believe it is justifiable for my party to come under the purview of the Right to Information," the Chief Minister said.

He said the Income Tax exempted to political parties could otherwise be used elsewhere for developmental work.

"...But I am not paying that income tax and therefore I should necessarily be accountable not just to the Election Commission, not just accountable to the Income Tax department but I should be accountable to the country," he said.

Stressing that he did not wish to pick a fight with other political parties, Omar said he does not see any problem in sharing records of day-to-day functioning of political parties with people.

"At the end of the day, nobody can force us to collect information that we don`t ordinarily collect or that we don`t ordinarily use in our day-to-day operations.

As a political party, if there are records that I keep about functioning of my political party, then those records should be made available to the people. And if I don`t keep those records, then I can`t be forced," he said.