CIC bows before ‘stubborn’ political parties

Once again the audacity and brazenness of six major political parties in not appearing before the CIC hearing on 16th March came to light 

 

When the wrong doers remain stubborn about not following laws, should they get away by the concerned authority throwing up its hands although it has the right to put them in place? Well, the jury of the Central Information Commission (CIC) has exactly done that with the six major political parties, who refused to be declared as public authorities and be embedded in the Right to Information (RTI) Act as per its 2013 order, being let off.
 
In a shocking decision on 16th March, on Monday, the Commission observed in its order that the RTI Act does not provide the CIC with ample powers to deal with the cases of contempt and non-compliance. The jury comprising information commissioners - Manjula Prasher, Sharat Sabharwal and Vijai Sharma has sent a copy to the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) asking it to check out the way to overcome the problem of political parties not legally bound to CIC decision as they are not government department and also that, they cannot be penalised. (see Box for the verbatim extract of the CIC decision).  
 
The CIC did not take any action against the political parties – Indian National Congress (Congress), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Communist Party of India (Marxist)-CPI (M), Communist Party of India (CPI), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). It has merely reminded in its order that its 3 June 2013 order which declared political parties as public authorities and therefore bound by the RTI Act is “legally correct, and final.”
 
CIC also recommends that “complainants are at liberty, in view of the facts and circumstances of this case, to approach the higher courts for appropriate relief and redressal.”

RTI activist Subhash Agrawal and the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) had persistently followed up the issue through RTI documents and thorough investigations of how the major political parties are majorly funded by the government. They had gone into second appeal to the CIC which has time and again called the political parties for hearings but they have unanimously stayed or remained absent.
 
ADR in a release said that it would file a petition in the court. The statement says, “ADR is going to file a petition in the Court asking for action against these six National Political Parties for non-compliance and contempt of the 3 June 2013 order as well as its implementation; CIC’s decision that law is silent on non-compliance is not correct. CIC should go by the spirit of the law and not the letter; Preamble of the RTI act as well the Sections 18, 19 and 20 gives ample powers to CIC to take action on non-compliance by the way of levying fine and awarding compensation, CIC therefore through this order is only abrogating its own power and authority. CIC is not a court of law. It is only a quasi-judicial body. Therefore, it should not go into the technicalities of the law.’’
 
Venkatesh Nayak, research scholar and member of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) opines that the CIC has shown spinelessness through its decision and it is a big blow to the transparency. In a note put up in public view, he states, “The CIC's decision unwittingly or otherwise ends up creating an impression that it lacks the power (or 'mettle' or 'spunk' or 'spine' whichever expression you prefer) to ensure compliance with its orders.’’
 
Nayak says this is not the first instance where the CIC was faced with a situation of non-compliance. In 2009 when the CIC faced a similar situation where the DoPT persistently refused to comply with its order regarding providing access to "file notings", in accordance with the provisions of the RTI Act. Nayak says “the CIC issued notice about launching criminal action against the DoPT under the following provisions of the Indian Penal Code: Section 166 - Public servant disobeying law with intent to cause injury to any person; Section 187 - Omission to assist public servant when bound by law to give assistance; and; Section 188 - Disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant. These offences invite fines and a prison term from two months to one year. When threatened with legal action, the DoPT fell in line. Incidentally, the RTI applicant in this case is also a complainant in the current political parties' non-compliance case. Strangely, the CIC does not seem to have adopted such a course of action in the current case.’’
 
 
 

CIC decision of 16th March

 
The following is decided:
(a) the respondents are not in compliance with the Commission's order of 03.06.2013 and the RTI Act. The respondents, as public authorities, have not implemented the directions contained in the Commission's order and there is no evidence of any intention to do so;

(b) the submissions made by the complainants for the imposition of penalty and the award of compensation are not allowed in view of legal considerations;

(c) the prayer for making recommendations to public authorities, reference para 68(6), above, is not allowed;
(d) a copy of this order be sent to the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India, for taking action as deemed appropriate for addressing the legal gaps and issues that have come to light during the hearings, including those mentioned in para 68(7) above, with a view to ensuring compliance of this Commission's orders;

(e) the complainants are at liberty, in view of the facts and circumstances of this case, to approach the higher courts for appropriate relief and redressal. It is ordered that an authenticated copy of this order be sent to the parties through registered post. With this order of the Commission, the case is closed.
 
 
 

(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)

 

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    COMMENTS

    Parimal Shah

    4 years ago

    The more the political parties try to hide the more their slip shows.

    Ajay Chaudhary

    4 years ago

    There is no mention of AAM AADMI PARTY in the article then where is the need to show them in the photo. Is this deliberately done to show AAP in a poor light. We expect better and unbiased journalistic standards from Moneylife.

    Ajay Chaudhary

    4 years ago

    There is no mention of AAM AADMI PARTY in the article then where is the need to show them in the photo. Is this deliberately done to show AAP in a poor light. We expect better and unbiased journalistic standards from Moneylife.

    SuchindranathAiyerS

    4 years ago

    The first perk of joining India's acronymous (IAS/IPS/MLA/MP/SC/ST/LLB/MBBS etc) ruling scum is being above the law.

    Dr V S Prasanna Rajan

    4 years ago

    Submission of some suggestions with regard to the recent order of CIC conceding to the non-compliance of its order by the Political Parties

    With reference to the suggestions mentioned above and I hereby submit some of my suggestions for a way out of the non-compliance of the order of the CIC by the political parties.

    An appeal u/s 19(9) of the RTI act, 2005 can be filed by the complainants, before the CIC , to review its recent order conceding to the non-compliance of its order by the political parties along the following lines-

    1. Sections 19(7), 19(8)(a), read with section 22 of the RTI Act, 2005, permits the Central Information Commission to take appropriate legal steps to ensure the compliance of its order issued within the scheme of the RTI act.

    2. Section 14 of the General Clauses Act, 1897, empowers the CIC, to use such legal provisions as per the facts and circumstances of the case, to ensure the compliance of its orders, which
    has attained finality in law.

    3. It has been held by the Honorable Supreme court in Sakiri Vasu vs State of UP in paras.18-22 that -

    " 18. It is well-settled that when a power is given to an authority to do something it includes such incidental or implied powers which would ensure the proper doing of that thing. In other words, when any power is expressly granted by the statute, there is impliedly included in the grant, even without special mention, every power and every control the denial of which would render the grant itself ineffective. Thus where an Act confers jurisdiction it impliedly also grants the power of doing all such acts or employ such means as are essentially necessary to its execution.

    19. The reason for the rule (doctrine of implied power) is quite apparent. Many matters of minor details are omitted from legislation. As Crawford observes in his Statutory Construction (3rd edn. page 267):-

    If these details could not be inserted by implication, the drafting of legislation would be an indeterminable process and the legislative intent would likely be defeated by a most insignificant omission .

    20. In ascertaining a necessary implication, the Court simply determines the legislative will and makes it effective. What is necessarily implied is as much part of the statute as if it were specifically written therein.

    21. An express grant of statutory powers carries with it by necessary implication the authority to use all reasonable means to make such grant effective. Thus in ITO, Cannanore vs. M.K. Mohammad Kunhi, AIR 1969 SC 430, this Court held that the income tax appellate tribunal has implied powers to grant stay, although no such power has been expressly granted to it by the Income Tax Act.

    22. Similar examples where this Court has affirmed the doctrine of implied powers are Union of India vs. Paras Laminates AIR 1991 SC 696, Reserve Bank of India vs. Peerless General Finance and Investment Company Ltd AIR 1996 SC 646 (at p. 656), Chief Executive Officer & Vice Chairman Gujarat Maritime Board vs. Haji Daud Haji Harun Abu 1996 (11) SCC 23, J.K. Synthetics Ltd. vs. Collector of Central Excise, AIR 1996 SC 3527, State of Karnataka vs. Vishwabharati House Building Co-op Society 2003 (2) SCC 412 (at p.432) etc."


    4. Sections 166,174 of the IPC empowers the CIC to invoke such provisions to ensure the attendance of the respondents in compliance with its summons as well as to make the delinquent respondents accountable for the non-compliance of its orders.

    5. Moreover, the CIC, did not invoke the powers conferred u./s 195(1)(a)(1) CrPC to file a compliant through its secretary / registrar to the jurisdictional magistrate court for the offences u/ss 166,174,188 IPC committed by the delinquent respondents.

    6. Hence, the aforementioned facts can be highlighted in the appeal u/s 19(9) of the RTI act, 2005 before the CIC, to review its recent order conceding to the non-compliance of its order by the political parties.

    Shocking! Padma Awards 2015 were given without completing “the process”, reveals RTI
    An RTI application to the Union Home Ministry was rejected by its CPIO, stating the process is not yet completed. So, then, how were the Padma awards were given? 
     
    Contrary to the claims and commitments by Narendra Modi that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government will follow transparency in governance, here is a shocking revelation. According to a reply received under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the BJP government gave away the coveted Padma Awards for 2015 even without completing the due scrutiny of the nominees. The previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, however, used to put the selection process on the website after the Republic Day, after a hue and cry from activists.
     
    Delhi-based RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, who has been consistently monitoring the selection of Padma Awards over the past few years, through the transparency law, did the same for the 2015 Awards too. He filed an RTI application requesting information about the selection process of those who received Padma awards in 2015 from the Union Home Ministry. However, he was shocked, when the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of Home Ministry, replied stating that the “process is not yet completed” and hence the office was unable to provide information. If the selection process is not complete, then on what basis the awards were given away?
     
    Agrawal is extremely disturbed as this is the first time that information has been denied, with the BJP rule. Earlier, the selection process used to be put on the website. He says, “It seems that present Union government is bent upon preventing transparency in its working as the Union Ministry for Home Affairs (MHA) shockingly and surprisingly deviated from its earlier practice to provide information on selection process of Padma awards just after announcement of Padma awards on eve of Republic Day (25th January) every year. The CPIO at MHA through a letter dated 27 February 2015 declined information on an RTI petition, which I filed on 27 January 2015.”
     
    Interestingly, a similar RTI request, which Agrawal had made in 2014, received response from the MHA. “Besides,” the RTI crusader says, “following a communication from Central Information Commission, details of selection process was put on MHA website like it presently exists for Padma awards 2014.”
     
    Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri (also Padmashree) are the second, third and fourth highest civilian award in India. Padma Awards are conferred in recognition of the awardees distinguished contribution in various spheres of activity including the arts, education, industry, literature, science, sports, medicine, social service and public affairs. The selection criteria for the Padma awards, however, has been heavily criticised as many highly deserving people have been left out in order to favour certain individuals. The Padma Award are given to nominees only after receiving clearances from intelligence agencies and regulators, like Intelligence Bureau (IB), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Central Excise Intelligence (CEI), Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). 
     
    With the appointment of Chief Information Commissioner (apart from three more Information Commissioner) pending for last more than six months, work at Central Information Commission (CIC) has come to almost at a standstill for petitions relating to most of public authorities including most important ones handled by Chief Information Commissioner. There is no chance of the appointments in near future and a sword is hanging for dismissal/ quitting of outsourced employees at CIC. Instead of a slow killing of RTI Act, the Union government can save funds by altogether repealing RTI Act rather than providing ‘non-information’ on RTI petitions like the one quoted above. Even the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) appears to have lost its reputation for being amongst the best public authority to respond to RTI petitions.
     
    In his reply to Agrawal’s RTI application, the CPIO at MHA on 27 February 2015 replied, “Please refer to your application-dated 27.01.2015 under the Right to Information Act, 2005 received by the CPIO on 5.2.2015, seeking information about Padma Awards 2015. The process for Padma Awards 2015 has not yet been completed. Hence, no information can be provided at this stage.” 
     
    So, is the BJP government hoodwinking citizen by selecting Padma Awardees as per its whims and fancies? This is extremely disturbing.
     
    Agrawal has gone in first appeal. Here’s the information sought by him…
    1. List of nominations reaching MHA by stipulated last date with names of those recommending nominations, authority through which MHA received nominations and dates on which nominations reached to (a) recommending authorities and (b) MHA mentioning also last date of receiving nominations at MHA 
    2. Names of Search-Committee-Members' 
    3. Names considered by 'Search-Committee' 
    4. Names recommended by the 'Search-Committee' 
    5. Names endorsed by Awards-Committee out of those recommended by 'Search-Committee' 
    6. Days and time-duration on which 'Search-Committee' met to finalise nominations with minutes of meetings 
    7. Names of recommendations reached to MHA after last date of receiving nominations 
    8. Names of persons endorsed by Awards-Committee whose recommendations reached by stipulated last date 
    9. Names of persons endorsed by Awards-Committee whose recommendations reached after stipulated last date 
    10. Names of persons recommended by either of President, Vice President, Prime-Minister or Union Home Minister after stipulated last date 
    11. Names of persons recommended by Awards-Committee itself mentioning name/s of Award-
      Committee Member’s recommending such name/s 
    12.  Names of persons endorsed by Awards-Committee which were recommended by either of President, Vice President, Prime-Minister or Union Home Minister or Awards-Committee itself after stipulated last date 
    13. Complete information on any recommendation which were not recommended by either of President, Vice President, Prime-Minister or Union Home Minister but reached MHA after stipulated last date put before Awards-Committee 
    14. Names of members of Awards-Committee mentioning 'Field-of-Eminence' 
    15. Date on which set of recommendations were dispatched from MHA to Awards-Committee-
      Members for their study/perusal before meeting of Awards-Committee 
    16. Days and time-duration on which Awards-Committee met to finalise nominations with minutes of meetings 
    17. Names/ number of endorsed persons which were later rejected by tax, intelligence or other bodies after their names were endorsed by the Awards-Committee mentioning also name/s of authority rejecting such names 
    18. Complete details on telephonic-confirmation sought from members of Awards-Committee on any recommendation for Padma-award 
    19. List of names endorsed by Awards-Committee but not included in final list of awardees with complete information on not including such endorsed names in final list 
    20. Names of Padma-awardees refusing to accept Padma-awards-2015 
    21. Name of individual sending maximum number of recommendations 
    22. Number of recommendations received from each of states/ministries 
    23. Names of Padma-awardees in year 2015who were previously honoured with Padma-awards 
    24. Complete information on objection received on name of some Padma-awardee-2015 
    25. Calendar (dates) followed for different stages in selection/announcement of awards including date/s of receiving consent of probable awardees 
    26. Complete information on briefing Union Home Secretary by officers prior to meeting of Awards-committee mentioning also names and designations of officers present in briefing, and minutes of meeting/file-noting of such meeting for briefing Union Home Secretary 
    27. File-notings on movement of RTI-petition Shockingly and surprisingly learned CPIO vide reply No. 24/62/2015-Public dated 27.02.2015 declined information on the plea that process for Padma-awards 2015 is not yet been completed. 
    Rues Agrawal, “Learned CPIO did not take trouble to go through files of RTI responses on Padma-awards relating to earlier years when all such similar queries were responded on filing RTI petition immediately after announcement of Padma awards on eve of Republic Day.”
     
    Agrawal has appealed to the First Appellate Authority (FAA) to direct the CPIO to provide point-wise response to each of the queries together with sought and related documents but now to be provided free-of-cost under section 7(6) of RTI Act. He has also appealed that all those details which were put on MHA website for Padma awards 2014, may also kindly be directed to be placed on MHA website in respect of Padma awards 2015. 
     
    Let us wait and watch.
     
     

    List of the Padma Awardees for 2015

     
    This year, the government conferred the Padma Awards to 104 persons. It includes nine Padma Vibhushan, 20 Padma Bhushan and 75 Padma Shri Awardees.
     
    Padma Vibhushan
    1 LK Advani- Public Affairs- Gujarat
    2 Amitabh Bachchan- Art- Maharashtra
    3 Prakash Singh Badal- Public Affairs- Punjab
    4 Dr D Veerendra Heggade- Social Work- Karnataka
    5 Mohammad Yusuf Khan alias Dilip Kumar- Art- Maharashtra
    6 Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Swami Rambhadracharya- Others- Uttar Pradesh
    7 Prof Malur Ramaswamy Srinivasan- Science and Engineering- Tamil Nadu
    8 Kottayan K. Venugopal- Public Affairs- Delhi
    9 Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan (Foreigner)- Trade and Industry- France/UK
     
    Padma Bhushan
    1 Jahnu Barua- Art- Assam
    2 Dr Vijay Bhatkar- Science and Engineering- Maharashtra
    3 Shri Swapan Dasgupta- Literature and Education- Delhi
    4 Swami Satyamitranand Giri- Others- Uttar Pradesh
    5 N Gopalaswami- Civil Service- Tamil Nadu
    6 Dr Subhash C Kashyap- Public Affairs- Delhi
    7 Dr (Pandit) Gokulotsavji Maharaj- Art- Madhya Pradesh
    8 Dr Ambrish Mithal- Medicine - Delhi
    9 Sudha Ragunathan- Art- Tamil Nadu
    10 Shri Harish Salve- Public Affairs- Delhi
    11 Dr Ashok Seth- Medicine- Delhi
    12 Rajat Sharma- Literature and Education- Delhi
    13 Satpal- Sports- Delhi
    14 Shivakumara Swami- Others- Karnataka
    15 Dr Kharag Singh Valdiya- Science and Engineering- Karnataka
    16 Prof Manjul Bhargava (NRI/PIO)- Science and Engineering- USA
    17 David Frawley (Vamadeva) (Foreigner)- Others- USA
    18 Bill Gates (Foreigner)- Social Work- USA
    19 Melinda Gates (Foreigner)- Social Work- USA
    20 Saichiro Misumi (Foreigner)- Others- Japan
     

    Padma Shri
    1 Dr Manjula Anagani- Medicine- Telangana
    2 S Arunan- Science and Engineering- Karnataka
    3 Kanyakumari Avasarala- Art- Tamil Nadu
    4 Dr Bettina Sharada Baumer- Literature and Education- Jammu and Kashmir
    5 Naresh Bedi- Art- Delhi
    6 Ashok Bhagat- Social Work- Jharkhand
    7 Sanjay Leela Bhansali- Art- Maharashtra
    8 Dr Lakshmi Nandan Bora- Literature and Education- Assam
    9 Dr Gyan Chaturvedi- Literature and Education- Madhya Pradesh
    10 Prof (Dr) Yogesh Kumar Chawla- Medicine- Chandigarh
    11 Jayakumari Chikkala- Medicine- Delhi
    12 Bibek Debroy- Literature and Education- Delhi
    13 Dr Sarungbam Bimola Kumari Devi- Medicine- Manipur
    14 Dr Ashok Gulati- Public Affairs- Delhi
    15 Dr Randeep Guleria- Medicine- Delhi
    16 Dr KP Haridas- Medicine- Kerala
    17 Rahul Jain- Art- Delhi
    18 Ravindra Jain- Art- Maharashtra
    19 Dr Sunil Jogi- Literature and Education- Delhi
    20 Prasoon Joshi- Art- Maharashtra
    21 Dr Prafulla Kar- Art- Odisha
    22 Saba Anjum- Sports- Chhattisgarh
    23 Ushakiran Khan- Literature and Education- Bihar
    24 Dr Rajesh Kotecha- Medicine- Rajasthan
    25 Prof Alka Kriplani- Medicine Delhi
    26 Dr Harsh Kumar- Medicine- Delhi
    27 Narayana Purushothama Mallaya- Literature & Education- Kerala
    28 Lambert Mascarenhas- Literature and Education- Goa
    29 Dr Janak Palta McGilligan- Social Work- Madhya Pradesh
    30 Veerendra Raj Mehta- Social Work- Delhi
    31 Tarak Mehta- Art- Gujarat
    32 Neil Herbert Nongkynrih (Art), Meghalaya
    33 Chewang Norphel- Others- Jammu and Kashmir
    34 TV Mohandas Pai- Trade and Industry- Karnataka
    35 Dr Tejas Patel- Medicine- Gujarat
    36 Jadav Molai Peyang- Others- Assam
    37 Bimla Poddar- Others- Uttar Pradesh
    38 Dr N Prabhakar- Science and Engg- Delhi
    39 Dr Prahalada- Science and Engg- Maharashtra
    40 Dr Narendra Prasad- Medicine- Bihar
    41 Ram Bahadur Rai- Literature and Education- Delhi
    42 Mithali Raj- Sports- Telangana
    43 PV Rajaraman- Civil Service- Tamil Nadu
    44 Prof JS Rajput- Literature and Education- Uttar Pradesh
    45 Kota Srinivasa Rao- Art- Andhra Pradesh
    46 Prof Bimal Roy- Literature and Education- West Bengal
    47 Shekhar Sen- Art- Maharashtra
    48- Gunvant Shah- Literature and Education- Gujarat
    49 Brahmdev Sharma- Literature and Education- Delhi
    50 Manu Sharma- Literature and Education- Uttar Pradesh
    51 Prof Yog Raj Sharma- Medicine- Delhi
    52 Vasant Shastri- Science and Engg- Karnataka
    53 SK Shivkumar- Science and Engg- Karnataka
    54 PV Sindhu- Sports- Telangana
    55 Sardara Singh- Sports- Haryana
    56 Arunima Sinha-Sports- Uttar Pradesh
    57 Mahesh Raj Soni- Art- Rajasthan
    58 Dr Nikhil Tandon- Medicine- Delhi
    59 H Thegtse Rinpoche- Social Work- Arunachal Pradesh
    60 Dr Hargovind Laxmishanker Trivedi- Medicine- Gujarat
    61 Huang Baosheng- Others- China
    62 Prof Jacques Blamont- Science and Engg- France
    63 Late Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin- Others- Maharashtra (Posthumous)
    64 Jean-Claude Carriere- Literature and Education - France
    65 Dr Nandrajan 'Raj' Chetty- Literature and Education- France
    66 George L Hart- Others- USA
    67 Jagat Guru Amrta Suryananda Maha Raja- Others- Portugal
    68 Late Meetha Lal Mehta- Social Work- Rajasthan (Posthumous)
    69 Tripti Mukherjee- Art- USA
    70 Dr Dattatreyudu Nori- Medicine- USA
    71 Dr Raghu Rama Pillarisetti (Medicine), USA
    72 Dr Saumitra Rawat- Medicine- UK
    73 Prof Annette Schmiedchen (Literature and Education), Germany
    74 Late Pran Kumar Sharma alias Pran- Art- Delhi (Posthumous)
    75 Late R Vasudevan- Civil Service- Tamil Nadu (Posthumous)

     
     
    (Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)
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    COMMENTS

    Hemant Sharma

    4 years ago

    Good article . Highlights the need of improving systems and processes .
    Am sure that because of such exposures people would stop shortchanging our people and the people who really deserve to be rewarded.

    Babubhai Vaghela

    4 years ago

    Suo Moto Empowered Judges siting at HCs and SC, including CJIs, see Nothing Wrong with such Political Scandals. And, my Sweet Lords expect Common Man address them as Honourable Judges.

    Hemant Sharma

    4 years ago

    .

    365 days later, Govt still unable to find information commissioners; activist demands answers

    When it comes to appointments of the crucial post of Central Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners, the Modi government, despite having followed all procedures of calling for applicants and shortlisting, has not been able to identify any one

     

    Is Rocket Science required to appoint the Chief Central Information Commissioner and the three Information Commissioners that the government had advertised for? Today, it is exactly one year since applications were invited from the public to apply for these posts, but yet it is a suspicious silence from the Prime Minister’s Office:
     
    Look at this timeline
     
    On 25 February 2014 (exactly a year back), the government advertised for the posts of information commissioners
     
    On 16 July 2014, the government again advertised for Posts of ICs in CIC
     
    On 23 August 2014, CIC Rajiv Mathur retired and two months later, on 24 October 2014, the newly formed BJP government advertised the post of Central Chief Information Commissioner
     
    On 16 January 2015, the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) has invited the Search Committee members comprising the cabinet secretary, Rashtrapati Bhavan (chairman); Additional Principal Secretary to PM; Secretary, DoPT; Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs; Secretary, Dept of Expenditure and Professor Ram Chand, National Centre for Agricultural Economics & Policy. They were scheduled to meet at the cabinet secretariat of Rashtrapati Bhavan on 16th January. On the same day, another meeting to draw a panel for information commissioners will also take place. 
     
    Thereafter, the candidates for the post of Information Commissioners and the CIC have been shortlisted but no action has been taken.
     
    Irked by this inordinate delay, which has resulted in piling up of pending cases, about 38,000 as against 22,300 on 25th February last year (figures procured under RTI Act) leading Delhi based RTI activist, Commodore Lokesh Batra (retd), has now filed an RTI application. Cmde Batra, who has been tenaciously following up this issue, has sought details of the follow up after the shortlisting of the candidates from the Cabinet Secretariat of Rashtrapati Bhavan. He has sought inspection of files under Section 4 of the RTI Act.
     
    His RTI application has demanded the following information:
     
    1. Background As per information received through RTI, Hon’ble Prime Minister has accorded approval for constitution of ‘Search Committee’ headed by Cabinet Secretary for recommending / short listing panel(s) of names to the ‘Selection Committee’ for appointments of Chief Information Commissioner and 03 Information Commissioners in the Central Information Commission (CIC)’. The first meeting of the “Search Committee’ was to be held on 16.01.2015 and the 2nd meeting on 06.02.2015.
     
    2. In the above background /context, please provide me following information. 
    a) Please intimate the procedure /criterion applied /being applied for short listing panel(s) of names for the ‘Selection Committee’, for appointment of Chief Information Commissioner and 03 Information Commissioners in CIC.
     
    b) Please provide me the “Proceedings / Minutes of the Meetings” of the Search Committee held on 16.01.2015 and all the meetings held thereafter. Also provide me copy of final recommendations sent to PMO /DoPT for consideration of the ‘Selection Committee’. 
     
    c) Please provide List of file/files with reference number(s) on which the ‘Search Committee’ is processing / has processed the case of appointment of Chief Information Commissioner and appointment of 03 Information Commissioners.
     
    d) I would also like to inspect all the file/ files /records concerned with the above mentioned appointments of Chief IC and ICs in CIC. At that stage, I will take photocopies (duly certified) of the documents and notings in the file(s) as required by me. Please intimate the date and time for the inspection.
     
     
    Applicants for 3 Information Commissioners’ posts: 553
    Applicants for Central Chief Information Commissioner’s posts: 203
     

    Lists of candidates are available in Public domain on Moneylife two stories below:

    553 applicants for three posts of Information Commissioner!
     

    Who will be India’s next Central Chief Information Commissioner under RTI?

     
     
    (Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)
     
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    COMMENTS

    SuchindranathAiyerS

    4 years ago

    The time is fast coming when there will not be a single un tainted person in Government service. Why doesn't the Government go outside the orbit of courtiers and camp followers? They will say they tried by calling for applications. But no decent person will apply for a Government post in the entrenched culture of reservations, bribes and favouritism. It requires serious head hunting:

    manoharlalsharma

    4 years ago

    Introduction of R.T.I. is by DEFAULT or by MISTAKE , to get reacquired information is even more TOUGH to a COMMON-MAN.

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    online financial advisory
    Pathbreakers
    Pathbreakers 1 & Pathbreakers 2 contain deep insights, unknown facts and captivating events in the life of 51 top achievers, in their own words.
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    The Scam
    24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
    Moneylife Online Magazine
    Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
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    Stockletters in 3 Flavours
    Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
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    MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
    (Includes Moneylife Online Magazine)