The national parties’ opposition to the Central Information Commission’s order bringing them within the ambit of the Right to Information Act (June 5) should not surprise anyone. The order has not only hit the parties where it hurts most — by making it easy to seek the details of their financial sources — but has also opened up avenues for people to get information on their functioning. By challenging the CIC ruling, the political class will only expose itself. The case of the Congress is even more pathetic because the party has taken credit for enacting the RTI Act but is now squirming to wriggle out of the provisions of a law that is its own making.
Our political parties have finally found a reason to join hands. At a time when the nation is caught in a series of scams and the Lok Sabha elections are round the corner, they should show the courage to bring transparency in their functioning.
M. Arun Narayanan,
Political parties are not private properties. They are accountable and answerable because citizens vote for them in the elections.
Parties in and out of power collect money from organisations and individuals for many reasons, including elections. The CIC verdict is, therefore, laudable. Parties which are honest in their dealings have no reason to object to it.
Sudhakar Reddy Kalathuru,
It is highly regrettable that the political parties, which have been aggressively advocating transparency in public life in meetings and forums, should have reservations over the CIC’s landmark judgment. The editorial “No place to hide” (June 5) rightly says that “the tag line for India’s much-acclaimed transparency law could well be: good for others, not for me.”
The CIC order will go a long way in bringing about electoral reforms. It is surprising that the political parties believe that they are private bodies, whose privacy must be set free from the RTI watchdog, and any attempt to bring transparency to their fast growing wealth is an attack on democracy.
The politicos’ anger over the CIC order is a glaring example of what they think of themselves — kings who must not be questioned. Rules hold good for voters, not them. As such, there appears no immediate end to hypocrisy, which is perhaps why criminals join politics or are protected by politicians.
The Congress’s description of the ruling as “adventurist” and the BJP’s volte face show how much our politicians respect democracy. It is sad that people’s representatives do not want to trust people. But they want the people to trust them. It is clear that the political class is opposed to transparency and accountability.
Will the parties provide the accurate details even if they are brought under the RTI? Seeking details about them will not be a smooth affair and will amount to treading a dangerous path. Persons seeking information will come under the radar of the parties, with far-reaching implications.
Although the CIC order may not be able to achieve its desired end as political parties are bound to appeal against it, it will be remembered for laying the foundation for bringing transparency and accountability in the working of political parties.