Centre delays appointing info commissioner, reveals RTI

Centre delays appointing info commissioner, reveals RTI

Repeated reminders made by the Chief Information Commissioner to PMO, as the Prime Minister heads the selection panel, have virtually fallen on deaf ears.

In a letter to PMO on June 2, 2011, Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra wrote that since December 2010 “five posts of Information Commissioners remain vacant” and the total pendency of applications “could exceed 21,000” by the end of this year going by the prevailing trend.

Mishra wrote another letter to PMO on July 20, 2011, expressing his concern over the delay and appealing that the matter “be brought to the notice of Prime Minister”.

 Mishra also wrote in his letter that “Right to Information Act will become pointless if a citizen has to wait for more than a year to get any information” sought from the government.

The Information Commissioner expressed his dismay at the lackadaisical approach of the government and said that despite all seriousness shown by government officials on the issue, “nothing has happened”.

The procedure for the appointment of Information Commissioners is laid down in the RTI Act.

A selection committee headed by Prime Minister has to recommend the names and the appointment is done by Department of Personnel and Training.

Five posts are lying vacant since A N Tiwari demitted office as Information Commissioner in December 2010. The last appointment of an Information Commissioner was in September 2009.

One more vacancy will occur in July 2012 on the retirement of another Information Commissioner -  Shailesh Gandhi.

Sources told Deccan Herald that the Department of Personnel and Training “has started the procedure, but it is still in the initial stage”.  Letters written by Information Commissioner to PMO was made available to Amit Mishra of Varanasi under RTI Act.