Central Information Commission issues notice to six political parties
The Central Information Commission on November 3 issued notice to six political parties, i.e. BJP, Congress, NCP, CPI, CPI (M) and BSP based on complaint filed by Mr.Subhash Chandra Agrawal regarding non-implementation of CIC’s order by which political parties were bought under the ambit of RTI Act.
Earlier, notices were issued asking why an inquiry should not be conducted in the matter. However, replies were received from only four parties and BJP and BSP failed to submit a reply.
CIC in its present order has stated that, ‘after perusing the responses received, this Commission is satisfied under sub-section (2) of section 18 of the Act that there are reasonable grounds to inquire into the matter and accordingly, it is decided to initiate an inquiry in the matter.’
The political parties have now been given notice to ‘appear before the Commission either in person or through a duly authorized representative on 21st November, 2014 and produce all relevant documents/records relating to the action taken in pursuance of the directions contained in the Commission's order dated 03.06.2013.
Meanwhile, Mr.Subhash Chandra Agrawal informed Live Law that Election Commission, CBDT, MoUD, Prasar Bharti and othersshould also be summoned in the matter. He also said that ‘apart from imposing maximum penalty under section 20 of RTI Act and providing exemplary compensation under section 19(8)(b) of RTI Act, Central Information Commission should make some strong recommendations under section 25(5) of RTI Act to Union government, Election Commission and others concerned because of political parties not complying with CIC-verdict.’
Mr. Agrawal also suggested steps that need to be taken, he says ‘further land-allotment at subsidised cost, free voters’ list, free Doordarshan & All India Radio, and all other government-provided facilities provided to political parties may be instantly abolished. All other direct/indirect financing by Union and state governments may be immediately stopped.’Also, ‘no further government-accommodations may be allotted to any political party. Existing ones may be got vacated much before next Lok Sabha elections.’
He added, ‘Buildings built by political parties on subsidised land provided by governments may be taken over by governments in case of division in the party.’
His steps also included, ‘Union government may abolish all Income Tax exemptions retaining only very few of personal nature like on insurance, savings, interest on home/education loans etc, but abolishing tax-exemption on charity and contribution to political parties. This will abolish indirect government financing to political parties through tax-exemptions. Extra revenue so generated for national-development/public-welfare-schemes is much more important than charity.’ And ‘Political parties may be made to submit their complete fiscal details including incoming and outgoing funds to Election Commission for making these public through website.’
Regarding Election Commission, he said, ‘Election Commission may de-recognise all about 1600 non-serious political parties which might not have contested any election in last say three years.’ And ‘Election Commission may intervene for making political parties complying with CIC-verdict by giving them time-bound ultimatum for their de-recognition in case of their not complying with CIC-verdict dated 03.06.2013.’
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Read the notice here