The Central Information Commission (CIC) has issued another notice to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi asking her to explain why her party has not complied with the directives of a panel about responding to RTI queries and not replying to an RTI plea filed last year.
A full bench of CIC had declared that Congress and five other national parties — BJP, CPI, CPI-M, NCP and BSP — are public authorities which are answerable under the RTI Act, but none of the parties either set up any mechanism to respond to such queries nor alter law or challenge the order in any high court.
Noted activist R K Jain had filed an RTI application with Congress last February but with there being no response to it, he later made a complaint in that regard before the CIC.
Alleging “non-action” on his complaint, Jain approached the Delhi High Court seeking directions for the CIC to take action on his plea. The High Court gave six months to the Commission to take action on Jain’s complaint.
Complying with the order, the CIC had said, “It is directed that detailed para-wise comments/replies on the complaint of Jain may be furnished to the undersigned, by name, within four weeks after serving a copy of the same to the complainant.”
In a separate case filed by activist Subhash Agrawal, notices were also sent to BJP President Amit Shah and the chiefs of the remaining four political parties.
Refusal to provide information or not furnishing complete information is deemed an offence under the RTI Act, which prescribes a penalty of Rs 250 per day on the public information officer of the public authority from the date the information became due to the day that it was finally made available.