Cabinet insulates political parties from RTI heat Act

The cabinet cleared crucial changes to the Right to Information Act to block political parties from being covered under RTI by declaring that they are not public authorities. The Cabinet decision came nearly two months after the Central Information Commission's order of bringing six national political parties--Congress, BJP, NCP, CPI-M, CPI and BSP--under the RTI Act. The decision to amend the RTI Act was taken during a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Thursday, official sources said.
The amendments state that declaring political parties as public authorities under the RTI would "hamper their smooth internal functioning since it will encourage political rivals to file RTI applications with malicious intentions". They maintain that the Representation of the People Act and the Income Tax Act provide sufficient transparency regarding financial aspects of political parties, it is learnt. The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which acts as nodal department for the implementation of the RTI Act, in consultation with Law Ministry decided to amend the law.