NEW DELHI : The Central Information Commission (CIC) constituted under the Right to Information (RTI) Act may come in conflict with Parliament over the notices it slapped on six national parties last Friday for compliance of its last June order putting them under the Act, ignoring a pending Bill that exempts them from the purview of the RTI Act.
The Bill was cleared by a Parliamentary Standing Committee last December, but the government has kept it out of the business it listed for the ongoing Parliament session in view of the activists’ protests.
Repeatedly goaded by Delhi’s RTI activist Subhash Agrawal, the CIC has served notice on the six national parties for defying its June 3, ruling declaring them as “public authority” required to reply to all queries under the RTI Act. The full-bench verdict of the CIC had held that all six national parties come under the purview of the RTI Act and hence they should appoint the Public Information Officers within six weeks and respond to the RTI petitions within the next four weeks.
Agrawal kept writing to the CIC on August 27, on December 10 and again on December 23 that its verdict has been defied as there is no compliance by any of the six parties. Acting on his petitions, the CIC issued a show-cause notice on February 7 to all parties, asking them for actions taken on its verdict within four weeks, i.e. by March 7 as also their comments on the representations of Agrawal.“….If you fail to furnish your comments and response within the specified time, it will be presumed that you have nothing to say in your defence and the matter will e processed further as per law,” says the notice issued by CIC’’s registrar Dr M K Sharma. The notice has gone out to the Congress, the BJP, the CPI, the CPI(M), the National Congress Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.