Pol parties open to RTI scrutiny as CIC deadline ends

Reluctant political parties dodged questions from the media on whether they would appoint Public Information Officers and Appellate Authorities.

Last Updated: Jul 15, 2013, 20:21 PM IST

New Delhi: Uncertainty prevailed in major political parties including the ruling Congress and opposition over whether to appoint an officer who can share information with public under the RTI Act as the six-week deadline given by CIC to designate such officers ended on Monday.

Reluctant political parties dodged questions from the media on whether they would appoint Public Information Officers and Appellate Authorities.

The murmurs in the corridors of power were that an ordinance may be brought but with the expiry of today`s deadline given by the Central Information Commission (CIC), prospects of such a move seemed bleak.

The CIC had in its order on June 3 held that six national parties -- Congress, BJP, NCP, CPI-M, CPI and BSP -- have been substantially funded indirectly by the central government and they have the character of public authority under the RTI Act as they perform public functions.

The transparency watchdog`s six-week deadline to these political parties to appoint designate information officers and appellate authorities ended today.

Congress, which is credited for bringing in the flagship RTI Act in 2005, said the CIC order to appoint public information officers was misconceived.

"If you read the RTI Act, if you go back to the debate which led to its conceptualisation, if the intent was to bring political parties under it, that would have been stated...

"And the law doesn`t allow you to do something indirectly which cannot be done directly and that`s why we have said very respectfully that the CIC`s order is misconceived and fails on the fundamental appreciation of the law," Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari told reporters today.

PTI

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