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CIC order wrong,parties not public bodies: Moily

Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily on Wednesday conceded on the need for transparency in political parties,saying disclosures regarding

Written by Swaraj Thapa | New Delhi | June 6, 2013 3:55:49 am

Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily on Wednesday conceded on the need for transparency in political parties,saying disclosures regarding their funding can be made more open through reforms in electoral laws,but added that the Central Information Commission’s move to bring six parties under the RTI was improper.

“There is certainly a need for transparency… there must be transparency in political parties,in areas like accounts. This is a part of inner party democracy. But the question is whether it comes under the domain of the Information Commissioner. According to me,it cannot come under purview of information commissioners unless you amend the Right to Information Act and give them the power. It has to be provided in the Act. It is not an inherent power that one can assume,” Moily,who initiated the process of electoral reforms during his tenure as the law minister,told The Indian Express.

The CIC on Monday gave a controversial order,holding six political parties — Congress,BJP,CPM,CPI,NCP and BSP — answerable under the RTI,saying they fulfilled criteria of being public authorities.

Moily,who held seven rounds of consulations as the law minister and presented a report on electoral reforms to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,maintained that it was incorrect in law to say political parties were almost like public authorities.

“Political parties are not public authorities unless the law provides for it. There cannot be something like almost or similar. The question is: Is it a public authority. The simple answer is no. Tomorrow they will say that the Election Commission should come under them. You cannot arrogate powers to yourself,” Moily said,while reiterating that the CIC was acting out of its jurisdiction. “You cannot interpret an Act subjectively. You have to approach the legislature or Parliament to amend that Act. It is purely a subject under electoral reforms,” he said.

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