SC for transparency in appointment of CIC

SC for transparency in appointment of CIC

The Supreme Court on Friday said the appointment of Chief Information Commissioner should be made as per the terms of the office of Chief Election Commissioner in accordance with the mandate of the Right to Information Act, 2005.

In a series of directions, a bench of Justice A K Sikri and S Abdul Nazeer ordered all the vacant posts in the Central Information Commission and the State Information Commission must be filled up in a period of six months.

The court directed the process of appointments must start one to two months before a post falls vacant.

It said as the Union government was now placing all necessary information including the issuance of the advertisement, receipt and applications, particulars of the applicants, composition of selection committee etc on the website. All states shall also follow this system.

“The RTI Act is enacted not only to sub-serve and ensure freedom of speech. On proper implementation, it has the potential to bring about good governance which is an integral part of any vibrant democracy. Attaining good governance is also one of the visions of the Constitution. It also has a vital connection with the development,” the bench said in its judgement on a petition filed by RTI activist Anjali Bhardwaj.

The court also said as per the mandate of the law, it has to be ensured that the Information Commissioners are appointed from other streams, namely, law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance. The selection should not be limited only to the government employee.

The court also said it would also be appropriate for the search committee to make the criteria for shortlisting the candidates, public, so that it is ensured that shortlisting was done on the basis of objective and rational criteria.

“No doubt, Section 13(5) of RTI Act states that the CIC and Information Commissioners shall be appointed on the same terms and conditions as applicable to the Chief Election Commissioner/Election Commissioner. At the same time, it would also be appropriate if the said terms and conditions on which such appointments are to be made are specifically stipulated in the advertisement and put on the website as well,” the bench said.