SC notice over vacant posts in transparency panels

SC notice over vacant posts in transparency panels

The petitioners pointed out there are six vacancies in the State Information Commission (SIC) of Karnataka though nearly 33,000 appeals and complaints are pending. (DH file photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre, Karnataka and seven other state governments to respond why the posts of information commissioners were lying vacant in transparency panels.

“Why is this phenomenon seen in all institutions in the country,” a bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan asked Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Union government.

The bench sought response from the Union government, and states of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat, Odisha, Kerala and Telangana on a petition filed by RTI activists Anjali Bhardwaj, Commodore Lokesh K Batra and Amrita Johari.

Advocates Kamini Jaiswal and Pranav Sachdeva, representing the petitioners, sought directions for filling up posts of four information commissioners in the Central Information Commission, as thousands of applications were pending over there.

“The central and various state governments have failed to adopt proper procedures to ensure transparency in the short-listing, selection and appointment of information commissioners,” the petitioners submitted.

“The RTI Act mandates a time-bound provision of information to the citizens. Long delays in information commissions in disposing of appeals and complaints defeat the letter and spirit of this legislation,” they added.

The petitioners pointed out there are six vacancies in the State Information Commission (SIC) of Karnataka though nearly 33,000 appeals and complaints are pending.

The petitioners also sought directions to the respondent states to take immediate steps to appoint chief state information commissioners and information commissioners of the respective SICs in a transparent and time-bound manner.

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