Y K Sinha likely to be CIC, journalist Mahurkar new IC

Y K Sinha likely to be CIC, journalist Mahurkar new IC

Sources said Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury objected to the way in which the short-listing of candidates has been done

Information Commissioner Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha. Credit: bapio.co.uk

Almost two months after the post fell vacant, the Government is all set to appoint Information Commissioner Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha as the new head of the Central Information Commission (CIC) besides naming senior journalist Uday Mahurkar as an Information Commissioner.

Sinha (62), a former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, will succeed Bimal Jhulka who retired in August this year while Mahurkar, a Senior Deputy Editor with India Today and who considers himself a follower of controversial right-wing figure Savarkar, will be the sixth Information Commissioner.

While formal orders are yet to be issued, sources said a three-member panel headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cleared the names of Sinha and Mahurkar. There are still four vacancies in the 11-member Commission.

However, sources said Congress Leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, a member of the panel, has submitted a dissent note, objected to the way in which the short-listing of candidates has been done.  

Chowdhury is also learnt to have objected to Mahurkar's appointment as his name was not among the applicants but found space in the short-list. Seven persons, including Mahurkar, were short-listed for the post of Information Commissioner from among 355 applicants.

Home Amit Shah is the third member in the panel, which met twice this month to decide on the names.

Replying to a message about his appointment on Twitter, Mahurkar said, "an opportunity to serve the nation in Veer Savarkar’s spirit of true Nation First."

He was responding to BJP Tamil Nadu spokesperson and RSS "Swayamsevak" S G Suryah who tweeted, "fellow Savarkarite and senior journalist Uday Mahurkar is appointed as the Information Commissioner in Government of India. This is a well deserving recognition and honour. Congratulations on your new responsibility Swamin."

Mahurkar is also the author of 'Marching with a Billion', a book on Modi's governance.

In the choice of Sinha, sources said, the government has followed the seniority principle. Sinha, a 1981-batch IFS officer, was appointed an Information Commissioner in January 2019 and is the senior-most among them.

Read | Transparency activists urge SC for urgent hearing on vacancies in RTI bodies

Activists had earlier criticised the Narendra Modi government for allowing the CIC to remain headless for the fifth time in the last six years when Jhulka retired on August 27.

Transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj also approached the Supreme Court seeking urgent hearing alleging that the Central government has defied the apex court's directions on appointments in the body.