Former Union home secretary K Padmanabaiah has asked all political parties in the country to accept the proposal of the Central Information Commission (CIC) to come under the Right to Information Act (RTI) to come clean before the electorate.
Speaking at a round-table on the demand for bringing political parties under the RTI Act’s abmit, organised by Jana Chitanaya Vedika here on Monday, he said that the Election Commission had been asking the political parties to disclose their income sources by regularly auditing them since 1998 but the parties had been dodging for the past 15 years.
The Election Commission had again sent the proposal to the parties in 2004 and its plea again fall on deaf ears, he said. Padmanabaiah alleged that political parties were taking advantage of the loopholes in the Election Commission’s guidelines on fund-raising and spending the money as well as during election campaign.
Retired IAS officer Kaki Madhava Rao asked the Centre to stop intervening in the Information Commission’s attempt to bring the political parties under the ambit of the RTI Act by issuing an ordinance and asked it to accept the resolution of the Information Commission full bench to bring all parties under RTI. He said that political parties should be brought under the RTI Act because they were getting lands for their party offices, tax exemption on their fund-raising and other benefits from government.
Jana Chaitanya Vedika convener V Laxmana Reddy said that people would teach political parties a lesson if they approached courts of law to thwart the Information Commission’s attempts.
He said that members of the political parties also should pressurise their leadership to bring themselves under RTI to cleanse the Indian political system.