Political parties covered by RTI Act; ECI denies rift with CIC
28 May 2018
The Election Commission of India (ECI) today clarified that it goes by the CIC order of 3 June 2013 that national parties would be public authorities for the purposes of RTI Act and in pursuance of this all the information about the contributions received by them as well as their annual audited accounts, as and when submitted to the commission are put in public domain.
The ECI’s clarification comes in the context of some media reports interpreting that Election Commission of India has contradicted the Central Information Commission’s directive on political parties covered under the purview of RTI Act.
On the issue of consultation with leaders of different political parties before presenting electoral bonds, the EC said this issue has been transferred to the ministry of finance as it might concern them and not the Election Commission of India.
“The requisite information is not available in the Commission. This is related to political parties and they are out of the purview of the RTI. They may submit information of donation/amount collected through electoral bonds in their contribution report for the financial year 2017-18 in the Election commission of India (ECI) for which the due date is 30 September 2018,” media reports quoted the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Central Election Commission assaying in response to a query under Right to Information RTI) Act.
Earlier in June 2013, the Central Information Commission (CIC) in a decision had declared that six major political parties are ‘public authorities’ as defined in the RTI Act since they receive ‘substantial funding’ from the government.
Six parties for whom a specific order under the RTI Act has been given are Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), 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).