Banerjee backs bringing national parties under RTI Act

Kolkata, June 5 (IANS) Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee Wednesday gave the thumbs up to the Central Information Commissioner’s order bringing national political parties under the Right to Information Act.

Banerjee said she supported the order as the public had the right to know how the parties functioned and received funds

“There should be transparency at some point in the functioning of political parties. The people have the right to be informed on the activities and functioning of political parties, and their funding,” Banerjee told mediapersons here, two days after the CIC order triggered a debate with most political parties criticising it.

“I find the move laudable. Moreover, there are political parties who have property worth crores of rupees. The political parties needed to be brought under the RTI fold as they are involved with the lives of the masses at large.”

She also pledged that once the Trinamool becomes a national party, it would submit all information under the RTI Act. “This we will do irrespective of whether we are asked to do so or not.

The CIC, on two applications filed by the Association for Democratic Reforms and Right to Information (RTI) activist Subhash Chand Agrawal, ruled Monday that political parties were public authorities as they performed public functions and received government funding.

The CIC said that six national parties – the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the Communist Party of India and the Bahujan Samaj Party – had been substantially funded, even if indirectly, by the central government.

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