Wednesday, May 17, 2017

With no SICs, fate of Telangana State Information Commission, 35 employees appears to be bleak

Indian Express: Hyderabad: Wednesday, May 17, 2017.
There are 15,953 petitions and second appeals pending with the State Information Commission for disposal as of date. However, with the only remaining State Information Commissioner (SIC) completing his tenure on May 15, not only the fate of the Commission and the cases but also the future of around 35 persons employed presently with the Commission  in the city hangs in balance.
Ironically, even without a single SIC holding office, the employees still continue to work. Earlier in April, the Supreme Court had vacated four State Information Commissioners S Imtiyaz Ahmed, M Vijaya Nirmala, Lam Thanthiya Kumari and Varre Venkateswarlu. The last SIC P Vijaya Babu completed his tenure on May 14, making the institution defunct.
AP government, through its principal secretary of the general administration department, had on May 4 shot a letter to Governor ESL Narasimhan conveying its inability to provide financial assistance to the commission.
“The TS government is seeking opinion from law department to create a new commission and the files are on the move. The cases will remain pending till then,” said Vijayababu Pola, the former and the last state information commissioner. However, prior to his retirement, the commissioner in response to the AP government letter shot off another letter to the governor reiterating the point that any decision pertaining to the commission is now in the hands of the Centre.
“They are in no way related to the issue yet they have sent a letter,” said Vijaya Babu. They don’t seem to wish for the smooth functioning of the commission and have diluted the power of RTI, alleged the former commissioner. “Even if they have an opinion there are other channels they should have adopted,” he added.
The fate of these employees at information commission is at risk.