New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued
notice to the Centre on a PIL seeking filling up of vacant
posts of Information Commissioners at the Central Information
Commission as it has led to massive backlog of cases filed
under the transparency law.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice
Rajiv Sahai Endlaw asked the Centre to file its response,
detailing the status of appointment process and fixed the
matter for further hearing on February 15.
The court`s notice was issued on the PIL filed by RTI
activists R K Jain and Amit Shanker, alleging that no action
has been taken on the issue despite two "distress" letters
written by the Central Information Commissioner to the Prime
Minister`s Office (PMO).
The PIL, filed through lawyers Prashant Bhushan and
Pranav Sachdeva, sought filling of posts of Information
Commissioners (ICs) and subordinate staff including
Secretarial Staff within time-bound frame.
It also said, "There should not be gap between retirement
and appointment of Information Commissioner. Further, there
should be some time line for disposal of complaints and appeal
by the Information Commissioners."
The panel, which was earlier having one CIC and nine ICs,
has at present "five vacant posts of ICs", it said, adding "At
present more than 20,000 appeals and complaints are pending
before the Central Information Commission for disposal and
with the growing awareness among public more and more matters
are piling up before the CIC.
"Direct the Centre to prepare a list of candidates for
the posts of ICs in transparent manner on the basis of
rational criteria from diverse backgrounds as envisaged under
the Right to Information Act... and put the list before the
high-powered selection committee."