An RTI activist, on whose complaint notices were issued to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, has accused the Registrar of Central Information Commission of adopting “double standards” in handling his complaints against the six national political parties.
In his complaint to Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur against CIC Registrar M K Sharma, activist R K Jain alleged he had adopted double standards in issuing notice to Sonia Gandhi “by name” as Congress President, while the names of Rajnath Singh, Prakash Karat, Sharad Pawar, Mayawati and S Sudhakar Reddy, have been omitted though the complaints named them specifically.
“The effect of omission of the name of the persons accused in the complaints from the notice issued by M K Sharma, Registrar is the shifting of the penal consequences to a person other than the one named in the complaint,” Jain said in his complaint to Mathur, filed on June 15.
He said the then BJP President Rajnath Singh had specifically been named in his complaint, while the present notice issued by the Registrar is to the President, BJP.
“At present, Amit Shah is the President of BJP, thus Rajnath Singh has illegally and indirectly been exonerated by M K Sharma,” Jain alleged.
He said as per the provisions of Section 20 of the RTI Act, the penalty is imposable on a person, individually and personally, therefore such proceedings are in personam, and if the name of the person against whom the complaint has been filed is omitted from the notice/proceedings, he cannot be visited with penal consequences.
“Thus, M K Sharma, Registrar and Consultant, CIC, has deliberately and malafidely shown undue favour to the five
persons by omitting their names from the notice issued by him so as to render my complaints nugatory and create legal defects in the proceedings to help certain parties,” he said.
Jain also alleged that Sharma illegally and unauthorisedly tagged appeals.
“I may bring to your kind notice that the full bench of CIC by order dated 18-5-2016, merely directed the Registrar
‘to submit all the similar cases filed by R K Jain and also by others, if any, before the bench’.
“M K Sharma, Registrar, CIC, instead of submitting the records of similar cases before the full bench, issued Notice of Hearing dated May 23, 2016 to all other parties without the directions of the bench, with a view to cause confusion and to delay the disposal of the present complaints,” he alleged.
A full bench of the Commission comprising Information Commissioners Bimal Julka, Sridhar Acharyulu and Sudhir Bhargava heard the complaint filed by Jain.
Jain had filed RTI applications with Congress and other political parties seeking details of donations, funding, internal elections of the parties, in February, 2014 and after getting no response from them, moved the CIC.
In his complaint, Jain has alleged that this was violation of a full bench order of the Commission which had declared Congress and five other national parties including BJP, CPI, CPI-M, NCP and BSP as public authorities making them answerable under the RTI Act.