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Political Parties Are Out Of Purview Of RTI Act, Says Election Commission

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| May 28 , 2018 , 09:27 IST

The Election Commission in an order contradicting the Central Information Commission (CIC) directive said that political parties are out of the purview of the Right To Information (RTI) Act, media reported on Sunday. The CIC's earlier directive had brought the 6 national political parties under the transparency law.

The statement from the EC came in response to an appeal from an RTI applicant seeking to know the donations collected by the 6 national political parties that had been brought under the CIC's transparency law in June 2013.

"Requisite information is not available in the Commission. This is related to political parties and they are out of purview of the RTI. They may submit information of donation/amount collected through Electoral bonds in their contribution report for the financial year 2017-18 in the ECI for which the due date is September 30, 2018," said the Central Public Information Officer of the Election Commission.

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Vihar Dhurve from Pune had sought to know through RTI the details of donations collected by 6 national political parties, namely the BJP, Congress, BSP, NCP, CPI, CPM and the Samajwadi Party, through the newly introduced electoral bonds.

However, former Chief Information Commissioner claimed that unless the directive of the CIC placing political parties in the purview of RTI is overturned by the Supreme Court or High Courts, the EC cannot take a contrary position.

Currently, the Central Information Commission is the only appellate authority regarding the RTI Act which may declare a body as a public authority if it is convinced that the organisation fits the criteria for being considered under RTI.

"When the Central Information Commission has declared six national political parties as public authority, the Election Commission cannot take a position contrary to that unless the order of the CIC has been overturned by the Supreme Court or High Courts. The order of EC has no merit," former Chief Information Commissioner A N Tiwari told PTI.