Press Release                                       8 th January 2015

Political Parties continue brazen defiance of CIC order

ADR seeks maximum penalty and compensation
For the second consecutive hearing, National Parties fail to appear for
the CIC hearing
New Delhi:  The Central Information
Commission (CIC) in its hearing on 7 th January 2015, reserved its
verdict on non-compliance by political parties with its earlier order (June 3 rd ,
2013) declaring the six National Parties as Public Authorities and bringing
them under the purview of the Right to Information Act 2005. This was the
second hearing of the Commission since the June 3 rd order and yet
again no party representative was present.

The Commission
had, in its order dated June 3 rd , 2013, declared the six national
political parties – BJP, INC, BSP, NCP, CPI and CPM – as public authorities and
directed them to appoint Public Information Officers to attend to RTI queries.
Political parties have been brazenly defying the CIC by not implementing the
order. The Commission had issued a show cause notice (dated 21 st November 2014) and an interim order (dated 28 th November 2014) to
the political parties, directing them to appear before the Commission. None of
the political parties has appeared for any of the CIC hearings.

Such open
defiance in unison by all the national political parties, which are institutions
of democracy, sends an ironic message to the public about transparency and Rule
of Law. Refusing to comply with the RTI Act is also a violation of Fundamental
Right to “Freedom of speech and expression” under Article 19(1)(a) of the  Constitution of India. ADR’s Founder member
and Trustee, Professor Jagdeep Chhokar, during the hearing, asserted that “ such repeated flouting of the order passed
by a statutory authority and a legislation passed by the Parliament, shows
nothing short of disdain for democracy and for the Parliament itself. Such
arrogant non-compliance of law shown by the national political parties deepens
cynicism among citizens and is potentially catastrophic for the state of
democracy ”.

co-petitioners in the case Mr. Subhash Aggarwal and Association for Democratic
Reforms (ADR) requested the Commission to take serious action against the six
political parties by imposing penalties on them (under Section 18, Section 19
and Section 20 of the RTI Act) and enforce implementation of the June 3 rd order of the CIC. ADR also sought exemplary compensation (under Section 19 of the
RTI Act).

A timeline of events, proceedings
and  ADR’s submission to the CIC for the
hearing dated 7 th January, 2014,  can be found here:
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