The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today termed the Centre’s opposition towards bringing political parties under the ambit of the RTI as a “retrograde” step, saying that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had taken a “U-turn” on the issue.
Batting for the inclusion of political parties under the RTI, the AAP demanded a review of the government’s stand. It said that the government should have called an all-party meeting before putting forth its view before the apex court.
“BJP leaders, who are now senior ministers in the Union cabinet, should look back and reflect on what they had stated in their public utterances when the then Congress-led UPA government had unsuccessfully attempted to amend the RTI Act in 2013, following the landmark Central Information Commission ruling on the subject.
“Such a U-turn by the BJP, equating it with the Congress, does not augur well for the country’s democracy,” the party said in a statement.
Incidentally, the expelled AAP leader Yogendra Yadav was at loggerheads with the party over the same issue. Yadav had alleged that the party was reluctant to implement RTI in itself.
In an affidavit before the Supreme Court, the Centre has said that political parties should not be brought under the ambit of Right to Information (RTI) Act by terming them ‘public authorities’ as this would not only hamper their smooth working but help political rivals to file pleas with malicious intention to seek information.
Meanwhile, Swaraj Abhiyan, founded by Yadav and activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan, termed the Centre’s stand logically unreasonable and “hilarious”.
“Swaraj Abhiyan expresses deep concerns and doubts on the central government’s commitment towards transparency and accountability.
“It may also be noted that the present Narendra Modi government went without a Chief Information Commissioner for more than a year and has appointed one recently only after immense public pressure to do so,” Swaraj Abhiyan said in a statement.