Right to Information
Public Interest Exclusive
Ruling BJP and five other major political parties continue to insult RTI Act

By unanimously boycotting the CIC hearing, RTI experts say, political leaders across party lines do not want betterment and transparency for the country

 

Ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which professed transparency and good governance if it came to power, showed its true colours, by defying summons issued by Central Information Commission (CIC). The Commission had asked the party to attend the hearing to bring political parties under the Right to Information (RTI) Act by declaring them ‘public authorities’. All other five major political parties – Indian National Congress (Congress), Communist Party of India (Marxist)-CPI(M), Communist Party of India (CPI), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) too boycotted the hearing of 21st November, reflecting their united stand to keep their funds, 75% of which comes from unknown donors, a deep secret.


Former Central Information Commissioner and RTI activist, Shailesh Gandhi, terms this as ‘arrogance’ with the intention of protecting their ‘family turf’ instead of betterment of the country. When contacted by Moneylife, he stated, “This is very unfortunate and reflects the arrogance of those who can exercise power. If the political parties are willing to think of the future of India, they would have agreed to become transparent.

 

Transparency will act as a curb on arbitrary and family controlled political parties. Do they want this for a better India, or are they concerned only with protecting their feudal and arbitrary turf?”


According to a senior bureaucrat, united boycott on CIC hearing by six political parties is an extreme case but the stark reality is that they do not have respect for transparency, accountability and to the highest adjudicatory body in RTI. "CIC decision has attained finality for not being invalidated by High Court or Supreme Court.  As such, boycott amounts to absolute disrespect and disobedience for higher appellate authority. As the CIC does not have contempt powers, this disrespect and disobedience is blatant, rampant and dangerous for it can be treated as exemplary and followed by others to weaken the RTI regime," he said.


It may be recalled that, Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) had procured documents of income tax (I-T) returns and statements from Election Commission of the six major political parties through RTI. Its analysis showed that between the years 2004 and 2012, these parties together had received Rs3,675 crore as donations through unknown sources.


However, during the course of their campaign, the ADR and RTI activist Subhash Agrawal, who was also pursuing this issue, did not get some crucial replies from the relevant public authorities. This include, details of 10 maximum voluntary

contributions received by the party from fiscal 2004-05 to fiscal 2009-10 and; details pertaining to voluntary contributors along with their addresses who have made single contribution of more than Rs1 lakh to the party from fiscal 2004-05 to fiscal 2009-10.

 

Hence, they filed a complaint with the CIC under the RTI Act.


ADR, through its analysis proved to the CIC that political parties receive substantial beneficiaries in terms of land, use of government buildings at throwaway rates and free airtime, besides the fact they are answerable to the public. On 3 June 2013, the CIC declared political parties as ‘public authorities’ under the RTI Act.


Ever since, all the major political parties have skipped CIC hearings, which wants to thrash out the issue of political parties as public authorities, thrice earlier, and except for CPM, all other parties replied that they do not come under the RTI Act. On 21st November too, they stood united. The CIC has reserved the judgment although the petitioners – ADR and Agrawal, requested the Commission for penalties to be
imposed on these parties (under section 20 of the RTI Act).


The press release of ADR says, “All six political parties were conspicuously absent from the hearing. This defiance was very much in-line as how three earlier notices from the CIC that had already been sent to these parties in relation to the implementation of the 3 June 2013 order, were treated by these parties.”


When contacted by Moneylife, Subhash Agrawal rued, “Attitude of political parties is an insult to an institution formed through legislation passed by the Parliament of which they themselves were the parties for passing such a wonderful legislation. If political parties and Union government were not agreeable to CIC-verdict, they should have challenged CIC-verdict in court. Even legislation to amend RTI Act for the purpose was deferred despite Parliamentary Committee’s recommendations perhaps because the then Attorney General opined against such legislation.”  


He also demands that CIC should make strong recommendations to the government regarding this defiance. “Apart from imposing maximum penalty under RTI Act and providing exemplary compensation under provisions of RTI Act, the CIC should make some strong recommendations to Union government, Election Commission, Union Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Central Board of direct Taxes (CBDT), Prasar Bharti and others concerned because of political parties not complying with CIC-verdict”.

 

Agrawal lists out the recommendations:


1.      Further land-allotment at subsidized cost, free voters’ list, free Doordarshan & All India Radio (AIR), and all other government-provided free facilities to political parties may be instantly abolished. All other direct/ indirect financing by Union and state governments to political may be immediately stopped.


2.      No further government-accommodations may be allotted to any political party. Existing ones may be got vacated say within three years.


3.      Buildings built by political parties on subsidized land provided by governments may be taken over by governments in case of division in the party. Divisions-after divisions in Congress-party left its one time headquarters at 7 Jantar-Mantar Road (New Delhi) in very bad condition. No more land at subsidized price may be provided in future.


4.      Union government may abolish all Income Tax exemptions on contribution made to and received by 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 exemptions so enjoyed by political parties and to those contributing to them.


5.      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.


6.      Election Commission may de-recognize all about 1,600 non-serious political parties which might not have contested any election in last say three years.


7.      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 the said CIC-verdict dated 3 June 2013.


8.      Any other such recommendations as deemed fit by Central Information Commission for making political parties accountable to public through RTI Act may be made.


You may also want to read:


Congress brags about bringing in the RTI Act but was the only party to skip the CIC hearing


http://www.moneylife.in/article/congress-brags-about-bringing-in-the-rti-act-but-was-the-only-party-to-skip-the-cic-hearing/29537.html


Indian political parties fear RTI consequences; skip CIC hearing


http://www.moneylife.in/article/indian-political-parties-fear-rti-consequences-skip-cic-hearing/28692.html


A secret cabinet note reveals desperation of Netas to hide from RTI Act


http://www.moneylife.in/article/a-secret-cabinet-note-reveals-desperation-of-netas-to-hide-from-rti-act/34731.html


Political parties receive 75% of funding from 'unknown' sources


http://www.moneylife.in/article/most-of-sources-of-political-funding-are-unknown/35924.html


Why I-T returns of Pawar, Jindal and Gandhi are exempted from RTI?


http://www.moneylife.in/article/why-i-t-returns-of-pawar-jindal-and-gandhi-are-exempted-from-rti/32357.html


Congress, BJP, CPI, CPI (M), NCP and BSP yet to appoint PIOs under RTI Act


http://www.moneylife.in/article/congress-bjp-cpi-cpi-m-ncp-and-bsp-not-yet-ready-for-rti/35599.html

User

COMMENTS

Praveen Sakhuja

2 years ago

My prediction stands TRUE, when I said chor chor mosere bhai. be it any political party with different fur, but carry same baggage with different color and size. Every person sitting on chair ahs to survive and feed the family, so no one dares to initiate strong action against big giants. Let us see the results .

Praveen Sakhuja

2 years ago

Chor Chor masere bhai has come on fore front by such action of all political parties. BJP that claimed of becoming more transparent prior to elections has also shown it colors. If such experience is parted with public, I am sure other public authorities cannot be blamed for such illegal acts and government will not be able to pull their strings to promote transparency.

Dayananda Kamath k

2 years ago

rti gives you right to information and not right to right information. they will give any vague reply just to satisfy the 30 days rule. the purpose of rti is not to provide information it is a means for better governance this should be first understood by govt and people under govt duty. they can utilize the query to act on their own to rectify the wrongs. instead they think that they have to comply with provisions of the act in letter than spirit.

dayananda kamath

2 years ago

under rti you have right to information but not right to right information. further the purpose of right to information act is not providing information its aim is to improve governance. the information sought must rejuvenate the department to avoid such wrong actions. but the approach now is just give some information for the query and satisfy replying within 30 days.

manoharlalsharma

2 years ago

u r relations r only to get u r VOTE once in 5 YEARS and then their way is different from u , in a COMMON MAN'S language it is DOUBLE STANDER because after ELECTION why they face u they r busy in their BUSINESS and R.T.I. a PLAY 4 time pass.

Rangarao Ds

2 years ago

What a sham of democracy we have! What more is needed to expose the hypocracy of our 'netas'? Aren't they bluffing us all along? If they refuse to open their own pockets to their own country men under the laws made by themselves, how can they be expected to open others' pockets abroad? What a fool's paradise we are living in! No way to bring them to senses?

Babubhai Vaghela

2 years ago

Why should CIC not have Contempt Power?

Babubhai Vaghela

2 years ago

Election Commission should de-list erring Political Parties.

Babubhai Vaghela

2 years ago

Less said about Supreme Court in RTI matter the better. CJI after CJI Sit on Writ to Adjudicate whether CJI is Public Authority under RTI. Apex Court is biggest Culprit.

SuchindranathAiyerS

2 years ago

Exceptions to the Rule of Law and inequality under law are enshrined in the India Constitution. This is why India is neither a Nation nor a democracy. Tyranny is the yoke of Indians since Ashoka with a vrief respite under the British Crown, and, as History repeats itself, it is likely that India may go through a genocidal occupation by foreigners invited by some disgruntled Indian slave or other who discovers that he is not, really, a first class citizen.

Canara Robeco India Opportunities Fund launched

Another mid-cap and small-cap oriented close-ended scheme

 

Joining the race to launch close-ended equity schemes, Canara Robeco recently launched Canara Robeco India Opportunities a mid-and small-cap oriented close ended equity scheme. The scheme will have tenure of three years from the date of allotment. While this scheme offers a specific allocation range of its portfolio to stocks of different market-capitalisation, will an average saver know how much to invest in such a scheme and would they be aware of the risks?

 

The scheme would invest 65%-90% of its assets in small-and mid-cap stocks. Between 10%-35% of the portfolio will be invested in large-cap stocks and up to 5% will be invested in micro-cap stocks. The balance part of the portfolio will be invested in debt and money market instruments. In the last six months of the tenure of the scheme, “the exposure to large-cap stocks may go up to 100%, if considered in the best interest of investors, in order to facilitate smooth completion of maturity of the scheme,” mentions the scheme information document.

 

The scheme defines large-cap companies as those that are among the top 150 Companies appearing in BSE 200 index or those companies whose market capitalisation is within the range of market capitalisation of top company and the 150th company of BSE 200. Stocks that appear in the CNX Midcap index or those with a similar market-cap, will be considered mid-cap stocks. The stocks appearing in the CNX Small Cap index or will a similar market-cap will be considered as small-cap companies.

 

Ravi Gopalakrishnan, who has 10 years experience in the capital markets will be the fund manager of the scheme.

User

COMMENTS

Parul Aggarwal

2 years ago

GOOD or BAD ??
Also it is close ended a better choice than open ended schemes

REPLY

Jason Monteiro

In Reply to Parul Aggarwal 2 years ago

As an MSSN premium member, you can read the review here - https://savers.moneylife.in//article/canara-robeco-india-opportunities-fund-launched/1182.html

Nifty, Sensex resisting a decline – Wednesday closing report

Nifty seems trapped in the 8,430-8,530 zone

 

We had mentioned in Tuesday’s closing report that if NSE’s CNX Nifty goes below the previous day’s low, a short-term decline may happen. The Indian benchmark opened Wednesday in the red and stayed there for most of the time till 1pm. After that the Nifty moved higher and remained in the green zone till the end of the session. It also managed to stay above Tuesday’s low, giving hope to the bulls. The market will remain volatile on Thursday when the futures & options (F&O) of November 2014 series expires.


S&P BSE Sensex opened at 28,322 while Nifty opened at 8,450. Sensex moved between 28,261 and 28,470 and closed at 28,386 (up 48 points or 0.17%). Nifty moved between 8,439 and 8,500 and closed at 8,476 (up 13 points or 0.15%). NSE recorded a lower volume of 78.66 crore shares. India VIX fell 3.99% to close at 12.9850.


Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher has said the Foreign Trade Policy will address the exporters' concerns of slowdown in several key markets like European Union and Japan and a lot of policy developments and diversification measures are being worked out to deal with the challenges of exports.


A report by HSBC showed that after two consecutive months of sell-offs, FIIs have net inflows of $5.3 billion in Asian equities with all markets having received positive flows in November. Of the $5.3 billion of net inflows in Asian equities, China ($2.3 billion) regained the top position as the 'most loved' market, pushing India ($1.4 billion) down to second position in the region, while Thailand was placed at the third spot.


Global rating agency Moody's said India's credit trends in 2015 will depend on steps governments takes to address high fiscal expenditures, recurrent food price inflation, and wide infrastructure deficit. The sovereign outlook for India (Baa3) remains stable. The global sovereign outlook for 2015 is also stable as a gradual global recovery supports sovereign credit quality, Moody's said in its outlook report. It released report entitled "2015 Outlook: Global Sovereigns" today.


The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity gave a favourable verdict to Gujarat State Petronet Ltd against the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB). The case was related to tariff revision, and PNGRB has been asked to re-determine the tariff upward. This would be the second revision in the past six months while the first revision was 10.8%. This move pushed up gas stocks. Gujarat Gas (16.87%) was the top gainer in ‘A’ group on the BSE while GAIL (2.75%) was the top gainer in the Sensex 30 pack. Gujarat Gas hit its 52-week high today.


Rasoya Proteins (4.86%) and Kailash Auto Finance (4.76%) were among the top two losers in ‘A’ group on the BSE. The stocks continued to hit their new 52-week lows today.  Zee Entertainment (3.96%), which hit it 52-week high on Tuesday, was among the top three losers in the group today.


Bharti Airtel (2.43%) was the top loser in Sensex 30 stock. It was recently in news for it signed the deal with American Tower Corporation through its international arm, Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV.


US indices ended Tuesday flat. The Commerce Department reported that the US economy grew at its fastest pace in more than a decade during the spring and summer. However, readings on consumer confidence and central-Atlantic manufacturing missed forecasts.
Except for Nikkei 225 (0.14%) all the other Asian indices closed in the green. Shanghai Composite (1.43%) was the top gainer. European indices are trading in the green. US Futures too are trading higher.

User

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)