Dismissing the CIC order on bringing parties under the RTI Act, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari has said an amendment to the Income Tax Act would work better towards bringing transparency.
Congress has already rejected the CIC order, terming it as an “adventurist” approach that would “harm” democratic institutions,
Asked what was the party scared of if it is subjected to RTI, MR. Tewari told Karan Thapar on Devil’s Advocate programme on CNN-IBN, “I think you need to make a distinction out here. All donations which are above Rs 20,000, the donors are revealed to the Income Tax authorities.”
On claims that most of their donations come under Rs 20,000, so they are hidden, he said, “Look at it in a broader perspective. Look at a party which has a presence across 6, 30,000 villages in this country...So, you have a lot of small donors who contribute out of political conviction.”
Asked why the donations cannot be revealed to the country, the Minister said, “For that you don’t need the RTI. All that you need to do is make an amendment to the Income Tax Act.”
On June 3, the Central Information Commission had held that political parties are answerable under the Right to Information Act.
A full bench of the Commission comprising Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra and Information Commissioners M L Sharma and Annapurna Dixit had stated that six parties -- Congress, BJP, CPI(M), CPI, NCP and BSP -- to whom RTI queries were directed, fulfilled the criteria of being public authorities under the Right to Information Act.