New Delhi,August 20, 2013: The government, armed with the Opposition’s support, is hoping to pass legislation to insulate political parties from the anti-corruption Right to Information (RTI), but prominent activists have told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh – rules should be same for the king and his subject.
A group of activists, including Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey, met the Prime Minister on Monday and asked him to hold off on proposed amendments to the RTI law and give it deeper thought. The activists also submitted a petition with one lakh signatures against amendments in the RTI Act.
“In a democracy, the same rules apply for the king and his subject as well, if everything comes under RTI, political parties too should come under it,” said Ms Roy, who quit the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC) earlier this year.
The activists said the Bill should be referred to a parliamentary committee for public consultations. While promising to convey the activists’ concern to various political parties, the PM said all parties were united in bringing legislation to keep political parties out of RTI.
The government decided to amend the law after political parties opposed the Central Information Commission’s order that six political parties, including Congress and BJP, will be brought under RTI as they were substantially funded by public money.
This would mean political parties would have to disclose campaign funding or how members voted during a secret ballot.
But the parties contended that they “are not public authorities”, and cannot function if they have to keep responding to RTI queries on “confidential matters”.