Skip to main content

GoI 'violating' Supreme Court directions: Information commissioners' appointment

By Our Representative
Well-known right to information (RTI) activists Anjali Bhardwaj, Commodore (Retd) Lokesh Batra and Amrita Johri have alleged that the Government of India (GoI) is continuing to violate Supreme Court directions on appointment of information commissioners to the Central Information Commission (CIC), India’s RTI watchdog.
Referring to the status report dated April 24, 2020 filed by the GoI in the ongoing Supreme Court case regarding non-appointment of information commissioners and lack of transparency in the appointment process, they said, in the last hearing on December 16, 2019, the Supreme Court had directed the GoI to complete the process of appointment of information commissioners to the CIC within a period of three months.
“Even though the time limit set by the Supreme Court expired on March 16, 2020, the Central government has failed to fill the vacant posts”, the activists, who filed a petition in the Supreme Court for transparent appointment of information commissions, said in a statement.
“As of today (April 29, 2020), four posts of information commissioners continue to be vacant even as the backlog of appeals/complaints has risen to nearly 36,000 up from 33,701 at the time of the last hearing in December 2019”, they said.
Pointing out that in December 2019, the CIC was functioning with seven commissioners, including the chief, and four posts of information commissioners were vacant, the activists said, “On January 11, 2020, the then chief information commissioner retired. Till March 5, 2020, the CIC was functioning without a chief and with only six commissioners.”
“On March 6, a serving information commissioner, Bimal Julka, was appointed as the Chief while Amita Pandove was appointed as an information commissioner. Therefore, four posts continue to be vacant despite the directions of the Supreme Court”, they added.
Other than names of members of search committee and advertisement, no other details have been placed in public domain
“Further”, the activists said, “The Supreme Court had directed the government to ensure transparency in the process of appointment by putting up the names of the members of the Search Committee and complying with the earlier directions regarding timely and transparency appointments to the CIC given in its February 15, 2019 judgment.”
“The judgment inter-alia required disclosure of the agenda and minutes of search and selection committee meetings, criteria adopted by the search committee for shortlisting candidates, the advertisement issued for the vacancies, the list of applicants, notification of appointments, file notings and correspondence related to appointments”, they added.
According to the activists, “It is pertinent to note that other than the names of the members of the search committee and the advertisement, no other details have been placed in the public domain in violation of the directions of the Supreme Court.”
The activists commented, “Despite the blatant violation of the order in terms of four vacancies still remaining, point 5 of the status report of the Central government states that ‘the process of appointment in respect of Information Commissioners in Central Information Commission has been completed within three months as directed by this Court in its Order dated December 16, 2019.”

Comments

TRENDING

Nirma varsity demand for higher fees 'illegal', violates Article 14: Letter to Gujarat HC

Counterview Desk
Students of Gujarat’s top private institute, Nirma University, situated in the outskirts of Ahmedabad, in a letter to the Chief Justice the state High Court, have complained that the authorities are demanding “full fees” from students, without taking into account the “disproportionate impact” the lockdown has on the livelihood of students and families.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Vulnerable to Covid-19, sharp rise in murder of Indian journalists during pandemic

By Nava Thakuria*
Vulnerability of working journalists in India is no way an alien issue as the populous country loses a number of working journalists to assailants as also medical emergencies. Even though there was only one casualty in the Indian media fraternity during the first half of 2020, who was targeted for journalistic work, India has begun witnessing an alarming number of media casualties during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Govt 'assures' Gujarat HC no action against MBBS students defying corona sahayak order

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government has assured the High Court that no action would be taken against Part-I and Part-II MBBS students of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC)-controlled NHL Medical College and LG Hospital and Medical College. The assurance follows the direction by Justice SH Vora to the State government not to prosecute or initiate action against the students who were defying the college authorities’ order to work as corona sahayaks (helpers).

Renounced US citizenship to serve workers, tribals, Sudha Bharadwaj 'odiously' in jail

By Atul, Sandeep Pandey*
Professor Sudha Bharadwaj has been in jail since August 2018. She was taken into police custody on August 26, 2018 on suspicion of being involved in Maoist terror activities after Republic TV claimed that she had allegedly written a letter to Maoists and was conspiring to create public disorder and unrest in India.

Ex-official: Murmu, appointed as CAG, will 'surely' perform shradh of the institution

Counterview Desk
A former senior official of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), Shantanu Basu, in a Facebook comment in the wake of the appointment of GC Murmu, a Gujarat IAS cadre official of the 1985, has raised doubts about the independence of CAG following the Government of India move.

Plant organic, eat fresh: Emlen Bage's journey from migrant labour to agri-entrepreneur

By Chandrashekar and Kriti*
Who is a farmer? Type this question in the google search and check out the images? You can see men thronging the screen. This is the popular perception around the globe. Well one can understand how difficult it would be for a woman to defy this perception.

High youth unemployment: India 'fails' to take advantage of demographic dividend

By Varun Kumar
As coronavirus pandemic continues amplifying challenges among youth with regard to employment opportunities, government policies have further resulted in economic slowdown, leading to mass unemployment and loss jobs. According to the International Labour Organisation report “Covid-19 and the World of Work” (May 27, 2020), around 94 percent of the world’s workers are living in countries with some sort of workplace closure measures in place.

Dichotomy? US Hindutva groups oppose racism, mum on Modi's 'anti-minority' stance

By Our Representative
The Hindus for Human Rights (HHR), a US-based advocacy group, has noticed a major dichotomy between the stance taken by RSS’ US arm, Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh (HSS), expressing “shock” at the “painful killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others”, all of which suggest “the tragic tale of racial injustice” in US, and HSS’ “hatred” for India’s religious minorities and Dalits.