A bench of CJI DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra posted the hearing for August 1 but responded to the petitioners’ clamour for an expeditious adjudication of the long-pending issue by saying, “We do not think we can ask the political parties why they selected a particular candidate to contest from a constituency.”
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, on behalf of NGO ‘Association for Democratic Reforms’, said the Central Information Commission in its 2008 judgment said political parties should be brought under purview of RTI Act.
CIC order can’t be basis to put parties under RTI: Govt to SC
Citing the 2008 judgment of the Central Information Commission, Bhushan said the RTI Act emphasises that “democracy requires an informed citizenry” and that transparency of information is vital to flawless functioning of constitutional democracy.”
Petitioner-advocate Ashwini Upadhyay had listed the number of state concessions – getting an official bungalow allotted to the political parties, IT exemption to persons donating to political parties, the parties being under the statutory control of Election Commission, exercising great powers to disqualify an MLA or MP under Tenth Schedule and free air time on national broadcasters, and said these made them amenable to be brought under the purview of RTI Act.
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta said, “A CIC order cannot be the basis for the Supreme Court to direct the legislature to amend the law and bring political parties under the RTI Act.” However, he said he was seeking an adjournment as attorney general R Venkataramani is unavailable. SC posted the matter for hearing on Tuesday.
Senior advocate Gopal Shankaranarayanan said the court in its judgment had directed the political parties to highlight in their party portals the criminal antecedents of candidates, but it has been observed more in breach.
Advocate PV Dinesh, appearing for CPM, said his client was all for political parties being subjected to the transparency law in matters relating to the finances, including donations received. However, the political parties must not be forced to reveal the basis of selection of candidates and internal discussions relating to political strategies