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Parties under RTI: Govt may dump ordinance route

Another option that was discussed is to seek review of the CIC order from the CIC itself.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: June 29, 2013 2:59:31 am

The government’s plan to take the ordinance route to negate the impact of the recent judgment of the Central Information Commission (CIC) is finding few takers within the government itself.

The reason,sources told The Indian Express,is that some senior UPA functionaries are not very comfortable with the idea of the UPA government taking the ordinance route since it would certainly be viewed as being anti-transparency.

“While there is no doubt in my mind that the CIC order is wrong and would not stand judicial scrutiny,how can the government issue an ordinance in this regard? Also,what is the hurry? Have the affected parties exhausted all legal remedies available to them? I am sure the idea of issuing the ordinance is just part of the thought process and will be dumped soon,” said a senior UPA functionary.

The draft ordinance sent to the Department of Personnel and Trainings (DoPT) by the Union Law Ministry proposes to change the definition of public authorities under the RTI Act,2005. The amended definition would keep all recognised and registered political parties out of the purview of the transparency law.

Section 8 of the RTI Act is also proposed to be amended to make it clear that political parties do not fall within the ambit of the RTI Act. Sources said the emerging view within the government about how to tackle the CIC order is for the affected political parties to move the Delhi HC to challenge the CIC order.

“Since the government would necessarily be a party to any such case,it could clarify the correct legal position on whether the political parties are public authorities. Another option that was discussed is to seek review of the CIC order from the CIC itself,but this option looks unlikely,” said a government functionary.

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