In Supreme Court BJP-led central government opposes move to bring political parties under RTI


The BJP-led central government on Monday told the Supreme Court that it was against the idea of bringing political parties under the Right to Information Act arguing that the move will adversely impact their internal working.

The government argued that any such move was dangerous as it feared the political parties may use this to settle personal scores against their rivals

The SC had asked central government why political parties should not be brought under the RTI act as it made them more accountable to public.

Appearing for the petitioner, the lawyer Prashant Bhushan said that since the national political parties were exempt from filing income tax returns, it almost made them public funded bodies. Bhushan also added that if it wasn’t for their tax exemption, these parties would have had to deposit 35 percent of their donation to the exchequer.

(Also Read: Bhushan moves to SC over political parties and RTI)

The court had sought response from the centre on a PIL filed by an NGO Association for Democratic Reforms seeking court direction to make political parties amenable to the RTI Act.

In May, Association for Democratic Reforms and the Right to Information activist Subhash Agrawal had moved to Supreme Court asking for national and regional parties to be brought under the ambit of RTI act.

The plea, filed through the SC lawyer Prashant Bhushan, had also urged the court to direct all such parties to disclose details regarding their income and expenditure.

On June 3, 2013, the Central Information Commission had declared six national political parties, the INC, BJP, CPI(M), CPI, NCP and BSP to be “public authorities” under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act.
The CIC in its order had directed these political parties to designate “CPIOs and the Appellate Authorities at their headquarters within six weeks time.”