CIC order on parties: Activist seeks hearing before HC

New Delhi, June 5 (IANS) An activist has moved the Delhi High Court with a request that he be heard before any political party secures suspension of the Central Information Commission order bringing political outfits within the ambit of the Right to Information Act.

Anil Bairwal, one of the applicants on whose plea the Central Information Commission (CIC) issued the landmark ruling June 3, filed the caveat Tuesday and said that no order be passed on any plea for interim relief against the commission’s order without notice to him.

Anil Bairwal, the national coordinator of Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), which filed the caveat, said the purpose of moving court was to ensure that no party got a stay on the CIC order without an opportunity to the activists to be heard.

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

The petition said: “The caveators/prospective respondents (ADR) apprehend that revision or a FAO (first appeal against order) petition may be filed by the prospective revisioner/appellant (political parties) against the order dated June 3 passed by CIC…”

“The caveators/prospective respondents apprehend that the revisioner/appellant (parties) may claim inter-alia ex-parte interim relief from this court against the CIC order dated June 3…”

“If notice/opportunity is granted to the caveators/prospective respondents, they will convince the court not to grant ex-parte relief in the present case and to further dismiss any such revision petition/first appeal against the order/interim application of the prospective revisioner/appellant on merits,” the petition said.

“No ex-parte/ad-interim relief or otherwise be granted to the prospective revisioner/ appellant (parties) without a prior notice thereof to the caveators/prospective respondents (ADR),” the petitions said.

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.

The CIC order evoked a mixed response from political parties, with most of them criticising it.

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