New Delhi | Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said he was not opposed to the idea of bringing political parties under the ambit of the RTI as long as other institutions, including the judiciary and the media, were also brought under its purview.
He said this in response to a question on sources of political funding during an interaction with university students at the JLN Stadium here.
“Transparency should be increased, I agree with it cent per cent. Political parties are an institution for the people. And then judiciary, press, bureaucracy, these are institutions as well,” he said.
“So, if you talk of bringing them (political parties) under the RTI, then why not RTI for the judiciary, press, bureaucracy and individual bureaucrats. I am all for transparency, but it has to be applied across the board,” Gandhi said.
Why not have a provision of bringing top 20 businessmen of the country under the ambit of the Right To Information, he asked, adding that “I would want to understand what they are doing”.
“But, if you just bring political parties under it, then you will weaken political parties with respect to all other institutions. I am very happy if political parties are brought under the RTI, and will do it tomorrow morning as long as it is done across the board and include other institutions as well,” he said.
“Because, if you just do it for political parties, it will fundamentally weaken political parties and it will weaken the people of India,” he claimed.
In his talk, the Congress chief also alleged that the RTI law itself has been “demolished” by the present government, state after state.
Gandhi said the RTI was introduced under the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government.
“But, there are multiple ways to attack corruption, including through Lokpal, but it is not being allowed,” he said.
On a question on the freedom of speech and expression, he said, “I am absolutely 100 per cent for that.”
“I draw the line when you start behaving violently,” the Congress chief said.
He said students sometimes say things which are absolutely not correct, but they are allowed to do that as students.
“If you are saying something, however unpleasant, it is ok. But, if you are threatening people, beating people up, bullying them, then I draw the line. So for me freedom of expression, as long as it is verbal, expressed in a non-violent, gentle way, I am ok with it,” he said.
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