Save RTI volunteers and activists Aruna Roy, Anjali Bhardwaj and Nikhil Dey have petitioned leaders of political parties in India. In their petition, they urge them to appoint PIOs and Appellate authorities for their parties at the Central and State levels. The petition has come out as part of their pledge to take this issue up with all parties and their candidates during the Lok Sabha election. Reproduced below is the petition available at Change.org. – Editor
The Central Information Commission recently ruled that the 6 national political parties should be answerable to people under the RTI Act. This would bring greater transparency in the political system.
However, instead of complying with this order, the UPA Government tried to exclude the political parties by tabling amendments to the RTI Act in the Parliament.
This drew widespread protests by citizens and citizens groups. Finally the Amendment Bill was sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for further deliberation. That Bill has since then lapsed with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha.
It has been 9 months since the order was passed but is not being complied with. None of the six National parties have taken the initiative of appointing a PIO. They continue to ignore the notice issued by the CIC recently to comply with the order within 4 weeks.
By ignoring the standing orders of an important statutory body like the CIC, we are forced to wonder what message your party is passing to the people. This is also a violation of the Fundamental Right to Know of the Citizens of India.
With elections around the corner, the Indian voter deserves to know more about the political parties and the leaders before casting his vote. With record breaking illegal expenditure and the use of unaccounted money in elections, the only tool by which the voter could have brought transparency to the process has been rendered ineffective by political parties.
We therefore urge you to appoint PIOs and Appellate authorities for your parties at the Central and State levels. . We make this appeal to you as part of our pledge to take this issue up with all parties and their candidates during the Lok Sabha election.
We urge the CIC to take appropriate penal action against parties who have not complied with their orders, and to ensure compliance urgently.
As citizens of India, our Right to Know is supreme and we shall defend it.
Aruna Roy, Anjali Bhardwaj, Nikhil Dey & Save RTI volunteers