RK Mathur appointed as new Chief Information Commissioner


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)