SC moved to know income, expenditures of political parties

New Delhi : The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has moved the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Congress, the BJP, the CPI-M, the CPI, the NCP and the BSP to disclose the complete details of their income as well as expenditure.

The PIL by the ADR along with RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal has also sought declaration that all the national and regional political parties are public authorities under the Right to Information Act, 2005 and were accountable under two orders of the Central Information Commissioner of June 2013 and March 2015.

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Besides seeking the complete details of income and expenditure of the national and regional political outfits, the PIL has sought complete details of donations and funding received by them and the names of the donors making donations to them and to electoral trusts.

The Central Information Commission by its June 3, 2013 order had said that six political parties that included the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the Communist Party of India, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party were public authorities under the RTI and were obliged to disclose information sought under it.

In the PIL, the petitioners have sought to highlight the practice wherein political parties in power have a significant de facto control over legislatures and executive through their elected members.

It said that schedule 10 of the constitution makes it compulsory for the elected members of legislatures to toe the party line, failing which they stand to suffer disqualification from the membership of the legislatures either in parliament or state assemblies.

However, at the same time “important information about political parties, their income, expenditure, complete details of donors are not disclosed by political parties for public scrutiny”, the PIL said describing disclosure of such information as the right of information of an average voter.

Contending that the political parties were integral to parliamentary democracy as it is they that form the government and run the governance, the PIL referred to the Law Commission’s 170th report by which it had recommended transparency in the functioning of political parties specially focusing on their internal democracy, financial transparency and accountability in their working.