Bringing Parties Under RTI to Hamper Their Working: Govt

Bringing political parties under the ambit of the Right to Information Act would hamper their internal working and political rivals may misuse the law thus adversely affecting functioning of the political parties, Rajya Sabha was informed today.

In a written reply, Minister of State for Personnel and Training Jitendra Singh said no representation from the political parties opposing the Central Information Commission order, bringing six national parties under RTI, has been received in the department.

"Declaring a political party as public authority under the RTI Act would hamper its smooth internal working, which is not the objective of the RTI Act. Further, political rivals may misuse the provisions of the Act, thereby adversely affecting the functioning of the political parties," the minister said.

He said CIC in its decision dated June 3, 2013 has held that the political parties namely AICC/INC, BJP, CPI(M), CPI, NCP and BSP are public authorities under the RTI Act.

"A bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 12, 2013 to exclude Political Parties from definition of 'Public Authority' under the RTI Act, 2005. The Bill was referred to Parliamentary Standing Committee on September 12, 2013. The Standing Committee in its report recommended passing of bill by the Lok Sabha.

"The Bill could not be taken up for consideration by the Parliament and stands lapsed after dissolution of 15th Lok Sabha," he said.

The Minister said CIC was allocated a sum of 12.53 crore in the year 2011-12, 14.38 crore in 2012-13 and 15.50 crore in 2013-14.

He said at the time of the constitution of the Central Information Commission 68 posts were created in 2005.

"In 2007, the posts were enhanced to 106 and later to 116 in 2008. The staff inspection unit of the Department of Expenditure in 2010 assessed the requirement of posts as 154 and after detailed consultation with the Department of Expenditure, keeping in view the recommendation of the SIU, 160 posts have been sanctioned in 2011," Singh said.

He said CIC has been granted autonomy in the recruitment of staff. Recruitment rules have been notified in all the 14 categories of posts in the Central Information Commission.

"The Commission is in the process of making appointment to the various posts. In addition to the above, Government has appointed five more Information Commissioners in the Central Information Commission with effect from November 22, 2013," he said.

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