The Sangarsh RTI Movement organized a press conference here at Press Club Jammu. Where Balvinder Singh along with Raman Sharma and Deepak Sharma addressed the media persons and informed the status of the their RTI applications filed to the three main regional political parties of Jammu and Kashmir, including Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party, Peoples Democratic Party and the National Conference.
Balvinder Singh, Convener of Sangarsh RTI group told the media persons that following the order of the Central Information Commission of India declaring the major political parties under the ambit of RTI Act. But since the Central act do not apply to state as J&K have its own RTI Act, 2009 therefore RTI applications were jointly filed by RTI Activist Deepak Sharma and Balvinder Singh to these political parties on 8th June and as per the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act, 2009 the response and reply should have come within 30 days.
During the press conference, it was informed that both Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (NC) and JKNPP refused to honour the RTI Act and did not make any reply whatsoever. But only the People’s Democratic Party, ( PDP) have adhered the Transparency law and have provided the sought information under the J&K RTI Act 2009 and hence have admitted to come under the RTI Act.
While interacting with the media, Deepak Sharma told that through their RTI petitions they simply wanted to know the amount of donation (funds) received by these political parties during the last 5 years and details of expenditure thereof. He also said the sought information was quite general in general and could have been easily provided under the RTI Act as a common man has all the right to know that what these political parties do with the funds collected from the masses.
Activist Raman Sharma while expressing his displeasure over the dishonour of the Transparency Law made by the other two political parties is against the ethos of participatory democracy, where the people are the real masters and the government and political parties are just their representatives, Raman said the political parties who are shying away from transparency must tell the people that why they are reluctant to fall under the RTI act when they themselves enacted this law in the state assembly on 20th March, 2009.
Harasis Singh, another member of the Sangarsh RTI appealed leaders of the political parties to honour this transparency law and said that we are optimistic that soon NC and JKNPP would also response the RTI pleas.
Disclosing their further course of action, it was also told that soon the RTI activist would file a complaint under section 15 with the J & K State Information Commission for bringing these political parties under the RTI Act. It is pertinent to mention here that as on date all the political parties have constituted their full fledged RTI Cells to file RTI applications with the government departments and many political leaders exercising this Right to Information from the government functionaries.