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'CIC order on avoiding penalty on pol parties contrary to law'

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

RTI activist Subhash Agrawal today alleged that the order issued by the Central Information Commission expressing helplessness in penalising political parties is "contrary to law" as notices were issued an year before complaint was registered in the Commission.

CIC has expressed helplessness in imposing any penalty on six national parties, declared to be under the ambit of the RTI Act by it, saying in the absence of any CPIO appointed by the political parties, as directed by transparency panel, it cannot impose any penalty.

In letter sent today to all the Information Commissioner, Agrawal has said that complaint-petition number CIC/CC/C/2015/000182 was registered before uploading of the said verdict on March 16, 2015 at CIC-website.

"But first notice of hearing on the matter on basis of one of my three petitions against non-compliance of full-bench CIC-verdict dated June 03, 2013 in petition-number CIC/SM/C/2011/001386 etc was issued long back on February 7, 2014 and hearings on the matter held on November 21, 2014 and January 07, 2015," he alleged.

The activist, on whose petition the order was given, said since the complaint-petition number CIC/CC/C/2015/000182 was registered at CIC on March 11, 2015, all proceedings in the matter including issue of notices and hearings held prior to this date are "contrary to law".

"I also request for a proper enquiry in the whole episode of registration of complaint after issue of notices and hearings held with accountability fixed on the concerned ones for the serious lapse.

"Inquiry may also be kindly made for not registering any complaint on my first such letter dated August 27, 2013 on non-compliance of full-bench CIC-verdict dated June 03, 2013 in petition-number CIC/SM/C/2011/001386 etc," he said in the letter.

He said the Commission is fully empowered to issue summons and has powers of civil court while deciding complaints under the RTI Act, but they chose not to exercise it.

"This decision will give a window to all the erring public authorities who may not appoint a CPIO to avoid penalty," Agrawal said.

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First Published: Wed, March 18 2015. 22:42 IST