Caveat blocks stay on CIC order on political parties’ appeal

New Delhi, June 4 (IANS) The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) Tuesday filed a caveat before the Delhi High Court, a move to pre-empt a unilateral stay on a likely appeal by political parties against an order to bring them under the ambit of Right to Information (RTI).

By filing the caveat, the ADR — one of the two applicants on whose application the Central Information Commission (CIC) gave order — wants to be heard before an order is passed in the case.

“We have this morning (Tuesday) filed a caveat in the Delhi high court so that no party can get stay on the CIC order without we being apprised of,” Anil Bairwal, national coordinator ADR, told reporters here.

The order came on two applications filed by the ADR and RTI activist S.C. Agrawal.

Bairwal said political parties should rather welcome the order as it will bring transparency and accountability in their workings.

“The data obtained by us under RTI show that lands worth crores have been allotted to various political parties and they also get 100 percent tax exemptions on donations. But no political party is ready to provide list of their donors and how the money is being used,” he said.

The CIC Monday ruled that political parties are public authorities under the RTI Act as they perform public functions and now need to respond to RTI queries within six weeks.

The CIC said that six national parties — the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) — have been substantially funded, even if indirectly, by the central government.

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