Indian Government Opposes Putting Parties Under RTI Act

27 August 2015

The Indian government has told the Supreme Court that political parties should not be covered by the Right to Information Act, as decreed by the Central Information Commission.

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) submitted an affidavit saying the CIC erroneously ruled in June 2013 that political parties are public authorities under the RTI Act, according to articles in The India Express, The Quint, and India Today.

“If political parties are held to be public authorities under RTI Act, it would hamper their smooth internal working, which is not the objective of the RTI Act and was not envisaged by Parliament. Further, it is apprehended that political rivals might file RTI applications with malicious intentions, adversely affecting their political functioning,” the affidavit stated. Other laws govern the political parties, the DoPT said, also arguing that it was never envisioned that the RTI act would cover the parties.

Subhash Chandra Aggarwal and Anil Bairwal of the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) have asked to the Supreme Court to enforce the CIC order which has been ignored by the parties. Legislation to reverse the decision was introduced in 2014, but failed to advance.

A three-judge bench of the apex court on July 7 sought responses from the central government and the six political parties.

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