Apply RTI on political parties
Apropos of your edit “Politcally Incorrect”, there is no sound reason not to want ‘glasnost’—greater openness—in Indian politics and bring political parties under the ambit of the Right to Information Act. If ‘public service’ is the raison d’ etre for political parties, the natural corollary is to make the empowering Act applicable to them as well for the people to know their functioning. In particular, it is vital to know their sources of funding to deconstruct their policies and programmes and detect the levels of ‘class bias’ in their formulation and implementation. There is no free lunch and underhand ‘donations’ to political parties are repaid in the form of relaxation of rules, licenses, concessions, incentives, waiver of loans, ‘revenue foregone’ and so on. The disclosure of funding will put a check on political parties being influenced, if not run by big businesses and corporate houses. It is worth noting here that most political parties own assets and financial holdings disproportionate to their known sources of income. The financial scandals rocking the ‘political sphere’ are incubated in backdoor deals struck between those who control and seek to control the economy and those who lead political parties. This fact stresses the need for ‘public scrutiny’ as an inoculation against preventable corruption. The importance of knowing how decisions are taken in party offices on issues of leadership, choice of candidates for elections, alliance formation, whom to represent, what to focus on too strengthens the case for bringing political parties within the purview of the RTI Act. If transparency and accountability are regarded as virtues and secrecy and corruption as vices, political parties deserve the honour of being listed as ‘public authorities’ under the Act. Of course, they can seek exemption from revealing their guarded strategies to bolster their strength.
G David Milton
Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu
Get to the root of Vyapam
It is laudable that the Supreme Court, realising the seriousness of the Vyapam scam, has transferred all cases relating to the scam to the Central Bureau of Investigation for probing. It would have been ideal if only the apex court had straight-away ordered a SC–monitored investigation instead of seeking the CBI probe. It is also heartening that the apex court has issued a notice to the Centre and Madhya Pradesh government on the petition demanding removal of Governor Ram Naresh Yadav. It is, however, a shame that the tainted governor is still sticking on to his post, finding shelter under the immunity available! It would not be out of place here to mention that while most of the governors appointed by the UPA government have been replaced with its own men by the NDA government at the Centre, it is now very clear why Ram Naresh Yadav was not removed though he is an UPA appointee! The CBI has a bounden duty to bring out all truth in this Vyapam mega scam and they should not fall prey to the evil designs of the ruling dispensation.
Tharcius S Fernando
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