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Parties under RTI: SC sends notice to Election Commission, Centre

The Association for Democratic Reforms, an NGO, has also sought a direction that the political parties be asked to declare all donations, including those below Rs 20,000 also.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: July 8, 2015 9:18:29 am
Supreme Court, The Association for Democratic Reforms, an NGO, has also sought a direction that the political parties be asked to declare all donations, including those below Rs 20,000 also.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought responses of the Centre and the Election Commission on a petition to bring all the national parties under the ambit of the Right To Information Act.

A bench led by Chief Justice H L Dattu also issued notices to the political parties — Congress, BJP, CPM, CPI, NCP and BSP — on the petition filed by NGO Association of Democratic Reforms and RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal.

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Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioners, urged the court to direct all such parties to disclose details about their income and expenditure as public authorities under the RTI Act, in conformity with the direction of the Central Information Commission issued on June 3, 2013. The Commission had held that political parties were public authorities and hence should disclose information under the Act.

Bhushan said that no political party complied with the CIC order but unfortunately the transparency panel did not have power to initiate contempt proceedings. He said that the court should now issue directives, making them amenable under the RTI.

The plea also sought a direction that the political parties be asked to declare all donations, including those below Rs 20,000.

The petition further referred to the 255th report of the Law Commission, citing practices in various foreign countries where details of donors and their donations to political parties were available for public scrutiny under the RTI.

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