Beeline for Information Commissioner posts

With upto eight IC posts and one CIC post vacant, the State government has received nearly 80 applications to what is turning out to be one of the most sought after posts in the State. While nearly half the applicants are bureaucrats, considerable interest has been evinced from policemen, NGOs and representatives from the media.

Among the people who have applied is retired Principal Secretary Robinson D’Souza, who was in charge of Legislature and Law department. His name along with that of N Naganna has been recommended by two Cabinet ministers. Dr Mahesh Joshi, head of Doordarshan, has also thrown his name in the ring with an endorsement from the Pejawar mutt seer. Other names include former Hubli Police Commissioner N R Nadumani and former Additional Law Secretary K D Deshpande.

The rush for these posts are not surprising as the CIC post is equivalent to that of a Chief Secretary under the Right to Information Act. While a CIC gets a monthly salary of Rs one lakh, an IC gets around Rs 90,000 per month. The State Information Commissioner is appointed for a term of six years, while an Information Commissioner is appointed for upto five years.

Following the retirement of K K Misra as CIC earlier this year, K A Thippeswamy took charge as acting CIC. With the retirement of Thippeswamy on October 20, the backlog of cases is being dealt by Commissioners H N Krishna and J S Virupakshaiah.

RTI activists have been anguished by the delay in appointments as it is affecting the implementation of the RTI Act in the State. Currently, around 13,000 cases are pending before the Commission. “If you appeal on a case today, your hearing will come about only after 15 months,” said RTI activist Veeresh Belur.

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