Candidates for post of CIC shortlisted and granted vigilance clearance: Centre tells Delhi High Court

Candidates for post of CIC shortlisted and granted vigilance clearance: Centre tells Delhi High Court

The CIC, which has been devoid of a Chief, may soon have a new Chief with the Centre reportedly notifying the Delhi High Court that the candidates for the post of CIC have been shortlisted. They have been granted vigilance clearance as well.

The Court had directed the Government to expedite the appointment process and keep it updated on the progress. This was because the vacancies in the Central Information Commission had created a massive backlog of cases.

A Bench comprising of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw was informed by Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain that, "Vigilance clearance from the respective cadre controlling authority in respect of the shortlisted serving officers and inputs from the Intelligence Bureau in respect of retired officers has been sought vide communications dated May 5, 2015 and May 2, 2015.”

The ASG informed the Court that the matter shall now be put up before the selection committee headed by the Prime Minister as per the RTI Act, and the process would take another one or two months.

Last week, Congress President Sonia Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue of vacant posts of CIC and Information Commissioners saying this has resulted in the backlog of 39,000 cases.

Earlier in April, High Court had rapped the Centre for vacancy in the posts of the Chief Information Commissioner and three information commissioners.

The Court is hearing a PIL filed by RTI activists R.K. Jain, Lokesh K. Batra and Subhash Chandra Agrawal, through lawyers Prashant Bhushan and Pranav Sachdeva. The Petitioners contended that no action has been taken on the issue despite two “distress” letters written by the Central Information Commissioner (CIC) to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

The PIL says“The post of Chief IC at CIC is lying vacant since August 23, 2014. The post of three ICs is also lying vacant for almost one year. Thus CIC has been kept headless… There are only seven ICs functioning, as of now.”

Representing the Government, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain assured the Court that these posts would soon be filled up. The ASG urged the Court to give him four weeks time to obtain details from the Government. Read the LiveLaw story here.