Plea on political donations to be heard Sep 26

The chief information commissioner (CIC) will Sep 26 hear a plea asking political parties to give out information on donations received by them, said NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) Saturday.

The ADR approached the CIC in March 2011 as save for the Communist Party of India (CPI), no other national political party had provided information on its largest donors and the manner of such donations, said a release from the NGO.

“All national political parties, except for the CPI, declined to give the information on their largest donors,” said ADR.

It said while the CPI provided information about their largest donors, their addresses and the mode of payment of these donations other political parties either didn’t reply or simply said they did not come under the right to information (RTI), said the NGO.

The CPI said it was a public authority as the organisation was substantially financed directly or indirectly by government funds.

The Indian National Congress, however, returned the RTI letter saying that it did not come under the RTI, said the ADR.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party did not respond to the RTI application, the Nationalist Congress Party said it didn’t have enough manpower to provide the information.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist also returned the RTI application, said ADR.

The NGO said leaders of all political parties maintained that they were committed to transparency and probity in their functioning.

“These replies bring to the fore the biggest farce that our democracy is plagued with – the opaque functioning of political parties with no space for engagement with the citizens and no willingness to open themselves to public scrutiny,” said ADR.

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