Sunday, July 08, 2018


Daily Pioneer: Dehradun: Sunday, July 08, 2018.
State Government’s dithering on filling up the long vacant post of the information commissioner (IC) in the State Information Commission (SIC) has resulted in the piling up of appeals in the Right to Information (RTI) cases.
The work in the State information commission has come to a grinding halt since the term of the last remaining IC Surendra Rawat ended in June this year. Another IC, Rajendra Kothiyal had retired a month earlier in May. In the absence of ICs, the chief information commissioner (CIC) Shatrughan Singh is finding it extremely difficult to hold hearings of the commission. In such a situation, over 1200 RTI appeals are gathering dust in the shelves of the commission.
Noted RTI activist Bhagwati Prasad Maithani told The Pioneer that it is very unfortunate that the Government is not able to make appointment in such an important institution. “The Government should appoint two ICs so that the work of the commission is not hindered. We expect that the Government would appoint apolitical persons having high integrity on such key positions,’’ he said.
The appointment of IC is done by a three member committee comprising the Chief Minister, a senior Cabinet Minister and the Leader of Opposition. It is learnt that due to lack of consensus in the committee, the appointments are not being made. Another factor which is being attributed to the delay is extraordinarily large number of applicants for these posts.
It is learnt that there are as many as 139 prominent personalities in contention for two posts in the SIC. The list of aspirants includes half a dozen retired IAS officers, many prominent journalists and other influential persons. To add to the woes of the Government, the influential contenders are lobbying hard to secure the coveted assignment.
Oddly enough, the list has many names that do not have any connection, however distant, with the Himalayan state.
The SIC was created out of the constitutional obligation under the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005 to dispose of the cases of appeals involving non-fulfilment of provisions under the RTI Act.