RTI - Success in upholding citizen’s right to view political parties as Public Authorities

RTI - Success in upholding citizen’s right to view political parties as Public Authorities

Question - Section 66A has been struck down recently by the SC for violating citizen’s rights to free speech. Discuss how far the RTI Act has been effective in upholding the citizen’s right to view political parties as Public Authorities.

RTI/Right to Information Act has been defied for some time now as parties have been resisting the CIC order declaring them to be Public Authorities.

• The parties have not sought legal remedy by appealing to the court against the 2013 CIC ruling

• Political parties come to power in a democracy only when people vote for them; they are accountable to the people and so they are also accountable for breaking the law

• Political parties have held that they are not under the control of the Right to Information Act and they need not comply with the CIC order

• This is in direct contrast to the recent cases where citizens have been taken into custody for violation of 66A

• Lawmakers should not break the law; democracy will fail otherwise.

Two opposing views exist regarding what steps can be taken to ensure political parties as Public Authorities:

• The first says that CIC is helpless to enforce compliance of order due to legal issues

• The second says that party office bearers can be penalised in the absence of a PIO

• However, any organisation using or controlling national resources is accountable to the public and a public authority in this regard


• Political parties need to be responsible and follow the 2013 CIC order or challenge it in court

• Another solution is to amend the Act to create consequences of defying a CIC order

• Yet another way out could be for the court to mandate and give a judgement

Facts and Stats

• CIC passed another order in 2015 indicating it could not intervene or force compliance of its 2013 ruling

• Penalty can be imposed on Public Information Officer, which has not been appointed by the parties

About RTI Act

• The RTI Act was passed with effect from October 1st, 2005

• Act extends to all of India except J&K; it applies to Public Authorities

• Citizens have right to information, associated with the provisions of this Act

• Public Information Officers/Assistant Public Information Officers are obligated to accede to requests for information and help persons seeking information

• Fee is charged based on the type of information sought

• Specific categories of information have been exempted from disclosure as per the Act such as intelligence and security agencies
Post your comment