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Centre accelerates process of filing up the post of Chief Information Officer after nudge from Delhi High Court

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The Centre, after being jabbed by the Delhi High Court, has accelerated the process of filing up the posts of chief information officer and three information commissioners at Central Information Centre (CIC).

CIC which was established as country’s chief transparency monitoring institute has been headless since Rajiv Mathur, the last Chief Information Commissioner retired. Several other posts have also been also lying vacant at the institute.

Last month a petition was filed in Delhi High Court questioning delay in the appointment of the chief information commissioner.

An affidavit has been submitted in the court, as a response to the petition, which states that the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) has prepared a list of short-listed candidates for the post and the process of getting vigilance clearance is going on for the same, reported The Economic Times.

According to the affidavit, “The process of appointment of Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners in the Central Information Commission is at an advanced stage. In continuation of earlier meetings held on January 16, 2015 and February 6, 2015, the search committee met on April 27, 2015 and shortlisted the applicants for the posts of Chief Information Commission and Information Commissioners.”

 

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RK Mathur appointed as new Chief Information Commissioner

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New Delhi: RK Mathur, the defence secretary has been appointed for the post of Chief Information Commissioner (CIC). He will be the second longest serving CIC, serving for three years.

The eighth CIC cleared the high-level selection panel headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday and approved by President Pranab Mukherjee Thursday.

The new CIC’s appointment will also kill any chance whatsoever of most senior IC Basant Seth, who will be completing his tenure by February 15, 2017, much before Mathur’s on November 24, 2018.

From the time when the first CIC, Wajahat Habibulla was appointed it has been a convention to appoint the senior IC as CIC. Mathur is not only junior but also a fresh face on the panel.

“Seniority had become a convention. It was not a rule. The government has every right to select anybody as CIC considering his eligibility.” said Habibulla, defending the selection.

Since the new CIC is not a part of the present group of information commissioners, no new IC was not appointed because the Delhi High Court has asked the government to fill vacancies of the three commissioners from among the old applicants who applied last year and a plea against which is pending in the Supreme Court. The plea will be heard on January 4.

“I have not received the order yet, so I would not speak for now.” said Mathur.

The reasons behind the selection of a new CIC from “outside” was that the government needed a person who is there for a sufficient time so that frequent selection processes can be avoided.

The position of a CIC is equivalent to Chief Justice of India and Chief Election Commissioner and is appointed for five years or till the age of 65, whichever is earlier.

Mathur’s appointment has made the information commissioners unhappy. One of the commissioners said, “The reason of motivation for the commissioners has gone now. Why should we work hard if we have no chance of being elevated to the top post?”(IANS)

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