New CIC Bench To Hear Complaints Against Political Parties For Not Complying RTI, Prof. Sridhar Not In the Bench
Chief Information Commissioner RK Mathur has reconstituted a larger bench to hear complaints against six national political parties – BJP, Congress, BSP, NCP, CPI, CPM – for not complying with the CIC order which brought them under the purview of the RTI Act. Surprisingly Prof. Sridhar Acharyulu, who headed the earlier bench is not included in the new Bench
The new bench comprises RK Mathur himself and also Sharat Sabharwal, Manjula Prasher and Divya Prakash Sinha.
The new bench had to be constituted after Bimal Julka, one of the members on the earlier three-member bench headed by Sridhar Acharyulu, recused.
The new bench will start hearing the matter from August 16. A notice to this effect was issued by the Commission.
In June, 2013, The CIC had decided that the six political parties came under the RTI Act after RTI activist RK Jain and Subhash Agrawal came to the CIC after being denied details of budget, and constitution of these parties.
The CIC has also clubbed cases of Subhash Agrawal, Biharilal Thawait, Pawan Kumar Pahwa, Vikash Kotwal, Vinod Kumar Mishra, PC Sharma, Malkiat Singh Bajwa, Mujeeb Ullah, Deepak Sethi, Rameshwar Sharma, Anil Kumar Sinha, Sant Ram, Aseem Takyar and Sanjay Sharma among others.
After the notice of the new bench was issued, Subhash Agrawal sent a representation to the CIC praying for some interim relief to see that the parties comply with its 2013 order.
“Kindly refer to notice of hearing fixing 16-17-18 August 2017 for full-bench CIC-hearing on several cases including of mine against political parties. The matter of compliance of full-bench CIC verdict dated 03.06.2013, has been hanging ever since for last more than four years with law-making political parties breaking law by not complying with CIC verdict bringing them under RTI Act. It is irony that political parties are not honouring verdict from Central Information Commission which was constituted through an Act legislated by them in the Parliament. Neither they have challenged the verdict in the court nor legislated against their being under RTI Act.
“Since final outcome of complying CIC verdict dated 03.06.2013 by political parties may not be feasible in near future because of reluctance so far exhibited by political parties, I appeal that this Honourable full-bench of Central Information Commission may under various provisions of RTI Act require Central government to suspend all direct and indirect funding to political parties as an interim measure till finality of the matter,” he said.
He also pleaded that till the final outcome, the government may be directed to stop all tax exemptions and subsidized allotment of land to these parties, besides other cut-downs.