New Delhi: Even five years after the
implementation of the RTI Act, Government has failed to frame
rules for the selection of Chief Information Commissioners
across the country which has resulted in "arbitrary selection"
of these officials, a leading activist has alleged.
Presenting a series of documents accessed under the
transparency law, Magsaysay award winner Arvind Kejariwal said
the PM-led selection committee for Information Commissioners
has become an "endorsement committee" of candidates finalised
by the Department of Personnel and Training.
"The names which made it to agenda note of selection
committee chaired by the PM and who were finally selected,
never applied nor were they ever recommended by anyone as per
records of DOPT and PMO," he said.
He cited an interesting case of the then Secretary, DOPT
Satyananda Mishra who framed the agenda for the selection
committee and put his own name as shortlisted candidate for
the post. Mishra was subsequently selected for the post of
Information Commissioner at the CIC.
Twenty two Information Commissioners from across the
country will retire in the next few months.
Section 27 of the Right to Information Act mandates
the government to frame selection of the Information
Commissioners at the CIC and State Information Commissioners.
"The DOPT has not framed any rules in this regard even
after five years. Had they done so, their supremacy in
arbitrary selection would have been over," Kejariwal said.
The activists also cited case of advisor to Finance
Minister Omita Paul who was made Information Commissioner
after the General Elections were announced and resigned from
the post to join previous post after elections were over and
UPA again came to power.
The activists cited several names like Ravi Shanker
Singh, Sudhanshu Ranajan and Krishna Kabir Antony which were
recommended by several eminent persons but were not put before
the selection committee.
They also cited names like Satyananada Mishra, Annapurna
Dixit, M L Sharma which were put before the selection
committee by the DOPT without any recommendation or
application in their favour.
"Who in DOPT finalises the names to be sent before the
Selection Committee. PM is hardly given a choice to select by
the DOPT. For example S N Mishra was the then DOPT Secretary.
He included his own name in the agenda note and excluded those
of others," Kejariwal said.
Chief Information Commissioner and Information
Commissioners are selected by a committee chaired by Prime
Minister and comprising Leader of Opposition and a Cabinet
Minister. The DOPT has a secretarial role to receive and
shortlist candidates to be put in agenda note of the meeting.