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Filling Up Of Vacancies Of Information Commissioners: SC Seeks Status Reports From Centre, States

Mehal Jain
6 Nov 2019 6:37 AM GMT
Filling Up Of Vacancies Of Information Commissioners: SC Seeks Status Reports From Centre, States
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday required the Centre and the respondent states to file a status report regarding the filling up of the vacancies of Information Commissioners and the compliance with the directions issued by the court vide its judgment of February 15."They are not following the directions as to the method of appointment- the procedure for shortlisting of candidates has to...

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday required the Centre and the respondent states to file a status report regarding the filling up of the vacancies of Information Commissioners and the compliance with the directions issued by the court vide its judgment of February 15.

"They are not following the directions as to the method of appointment- the procedure for shortlisting of candidates has to be publicised and the names of those who applied as well as those shortlisted have to be put on the website... In February itself, the court had said there are 4 vacancies and asked them to be filled up", advanced Advocate Prashant Bhushan for the petitioners including RTI activist Anjali Bhardwaj.
"How many vacancies are there now?", asked Justice S. A. Bobde.
"4 in the Centre. And there are some in the states as well. The court had said that the appointments in the states are wholly inadequate", replied Mr. Bhushan.
"The contest is only on the filling up of vacancies or also on the number?", the judges wanted to know.
"Both. In some states, only 3 appointments were made and the court was of the view that more be appointed", he was told.
"You do it. Make a statement as to the time-limit (for doing the needful) and we won't issue notice", said Justice Bobde to ASG Pinky Anand.
"We'll respond...but the search committee has set up. The search committee is scheduled", she answered.
The matter shall now be taken up for hearing after 4 weeks.
The Supreme Court had on February 15 issued a slew of directives regarding the filling up of vacancies in Central and State Information Commissions under Right To Information Act.

The key directions passed by the bench of Justices A K Sikri and Abdul Nazeer are :

  • Chief Information Commissioner should have the status of Chief Election Commissioners
  • Information Commissioners should not be just bureaucrats, and should be drawn from other professions and fields
  • Information Commissions to be insulated from direct executive control
  • Vacancies should be filled up within 6 months
  • Vacancies should be advertised well in time
  • Selection criteria adopted by search committee should be made public. 

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