Bring BJD under RTI Act: Transparency International

Bhubaneswar, June 8 (IANS) Transparency International India (TI) has filed a petition before the Odisha Information Commission praying that Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal be brought under the ambit of the Right to Information Act, an official said Saturday.

Biswajit Mohanty, the board member of Transparency International (TI)-India, who filed the petition Friday, said the Central Information Commission has recently brought political parties within the ambit of the RTI Act, but that does not cover regional parties.

“A case has been filed by me. I have prayed that Biju Janata Dal (BJD) be declared as a public authority and party president Naveen Pattnaik may be directed to appoint a public information officer in order to comply with the RTI Act,” Mohanty told IANS.

“I have pointed out that there are certain unique features in BJD which call for declaring it a public authority. As many as five office bearers of the party who hold the post of president, vice president and general secretary are also ministers of the state government,” he pointed out.

“Therefore, there is direct and total government control over the operation of this party which immediately attracts the RTI Act and hence it should be covered under RTI,” he added.

The Central Information Commission decided to bring national political parties within the ambit of the RTI Act, primarily because of the public function served by them as well as the fact that most parties have availed indirect government funding by way of concessionally priced land or rented quarters for running their offices, he said.

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