Congress high command will decide on the future course of action on the CIC order on bringing parties under the RTI Act ambit, a move against which virtually the entire political class appears to be united.
“The decision will be taken by the party high command,” party spokesman Sandeep Dikshit told reporters when asked whether Congress would appeal to the Central Information Commission for a review of the order or would take any other step.
Congress has already rejected the move as an “adventurist” approach that would “harm” democratic institutions, a view virtually endorsed by the other national parties CPI(M), JD(U) and NCP. Government has also reacted sharply over the matter.
Mr. Dikshit’s contention was that the CIC’s order was “not fundamentally correct” as political parties go to the people every five years and are also accountable to the Election Commission.
Besides, the Income Tax authorities go into the accounts of political parties and a host of authorities including Enforcement Directorate, CID, CBI and IB keep monitoring their activities.
Suggesting that it would be wrong to treat political parties as ‘public institutions’, he said that if the principle is applied to parties, it would have to be applied for a host of other institutions.
Contending that different yardsticks needed to be applied to different institutions, he cited the example of airwaves. He said the airwaves are made available to telecom companies at higher rates while for media channels, the rates are lower. He said if the CIC principle is applied, then all these institutions will come under RTI.