Quite ironically, the Indian National Congress became the first political party to reject the Central Information Commission’s (CIC) order bringing political parties under the ambit of the Right to Information Act on the curious argument that it would “harm democratic institutions”.
However, the Congress was not alone in its rejection of the CIC order issued on Monday. The Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Janata Dal-United also joined in full measure to oppose the move and call foul. But the alacrity shown by the Congress to debunk the CIC order was a bit surprising. The grand old party has never failed to claim credit for the passage and implementation of the RTI Act by its UPA-I government and has often countered the multiple allegations of corruptions faced by its UPA-II government with the line that the acts of omissions and commissions have come to light thanks to the regime of transparency it ushered in. But just as the long arm of the RTI reached a zone too close for comfort, the party quickly called for restraint. A day after the CIC order, senior AICC general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi termed it an “adventurist approach” inimical to democratic functioning of political parties and their privacy.
“It is not acceptable. We totally disagree with it. Such adventurist approach will create lot of harm and damage to democratic institutions,” he said, adding that “political parties cannot be entangled in such unnecessary things”.
Earlier, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid too spoke in similar terms and called for restraint on part of the CIC in issuing orders. Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed however couldn’t explain how political parties were going to get the CIC order overturned.