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SC notices Centre to get political parties under RTI

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought response from centre, the Election Commission and all national political parties on why they should not be brought within RTI ambit to make them more accountable to public.

A bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justices Arun Kumar Mishra and Amitava Roy issued notice to all six national political parties including BJP, Congress, BSP, CPI and CPM seeking their response to declare them public authorities under the transparency law.

Earlier an NGO – Association for Democratic Reforms had approached SC seeking transparency and accountability in functioning of recognised national and regional political parties.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, contended that political parties were public authorities and hence amenable to the RTI Act.

He said ““Political parties do not have to pay the income tax on the donations and, moreover, the donations below Rs 20,000 are not to be disclosed under the law by them.”

The political parties received huge sums of money in form of donations and contributions from corporates, trusts and individuals but do not disclose complete information about the source of such donations.

With this plea the NGO had requested the apex court to direct all national and regional parties to mandatorily disclose details about their income as well as expenditure.