New Delhi: The Central Information Commission on Thursday directed the Centre to disclose the names of people who have applied for Lokpal posts so that the public can bring up facts, which may or may not have been disclosed by the candidates, to the notice of the Selection Committee.
Disagreeing with the Department of Personnel and Training, Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava said disclosing the names would not be unwarranted invasion of privacy of the candidates as activist Subhash Agrawal was only seeking names of people who have applied for the posts and it will enhance transparency and accountability.
Rejecting the plea of Agrawal, the Department had refused to make public names of people applying for anti-corruption watchdog Lokpal.
"The Commission observes that the appellant is not seeking personal details of a third party. Rather, he is seeking names of those who had applied for the post of chairman and members of Lokpal in response to DoPT's advertisement," the Commissioner said.
Bhargava said disclosing the list of names of persons who had applied for appointment as chairperson of the Lokpal and members would enhance transparency and public confidence in the selection process.
"It is only when the names of the candidates for such sensitive post are disclosed that the public can bring up various facts, which may or may not have been disclosed by the candidates, to the notice of the Selection Committee.
"This would enhance public confidence in the selection process. Moreover, it is desirable that the entire selection process should be transparent," he said.
The Department of Personnel had claimed that the disclosing names will mean disclosure of personal information of persons who have applied or have been nominated by different authorities for appointment as Chairperson and Members of Lokpal.
Such disclosure has no relationship to any public interest and would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individuals, it said.
It had said premature disclosure of names of the applicants/ nominees for the posts of Chairman/Members of Lokpal, may result in serious harm not only to the candidature of the persons but also to their reputation.
The Lokpal Act, 2013 provides for establishment of anti- graft watchdog Lokpal for the Union and Lokayuktas for the states to inquire into corruption complaints against public servants.
The Lokpal selection committee headed by the Prime Minister has as its members the Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of the Opposition in the Lower House, the Chief Justice of India or a judge of the apex court nominated by him, and an eminent jurist who could be nominated by the President or any other member.