Right to Information pioneer Aruna Roy has welcomed the Central Information Commission’s order bringing political parties within the ambit of the RTI Act, but called for a “nuanced deliberation” on aspects of the CIC order, other than financial transparency, having implications on the internal functioning of political parties.
Ms. Roy, whose campaign through the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, led to the enactment of the transparency law, has also demanded that not only political parties but “all public bodies working for public causes using public funds” like NGOs, trade unions, cooperative societies and religious institutions, must adhere to complete transparency and accountability. “We are confident that this will provide an opportunity to ensure transparency of functioning of parties while protecting their right to political freedom of choice and association,” said a statement issued by Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghathana, signed by Nikhil Dey and Ms. Roy.
“We are aware that there are many other issues that have come up related to this order, other than financial transparency and accountability, which may require thought and nuanced deliberation by political parties in order to implement the order of the CIC. We want to emphasise that this should not be used by the political establishment as an excuse to amend the RTI Act and weaken its provisions and compromise its current status.”