Yashvardhan Sinha pipped Neeraj Kumar Gupta to CIC post

Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha pipped fellow Information Commissioner Neeraj Kumar Gupta to the CIC post, reveals RTI

In all, 139 people had applied for the post of Chief Information Commissioner in the Central Information Commission

Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha. Credit: Twitter (@globalyouthind)

Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha had pipped his fellow Information Commissioner Neeraj Kumar Gupta to the post of India's Chief Information Commissioner for which applications of 137 candidates did not make the cut before the Search Committee.

In all, 139 people had applied for the post of Chief Information Commissioner in the Central Information Commission but the Search Committee had shortlisted only two for the consideration of the three-member Selection Committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

No other names were included from outside the applications by the Search Committee during the selection process of the CIC but it had added one name in its shortlist for Information Commissioners, according to information accessed through RTI by DH.

Read: 59% of Information Commissioners appointed so far are retired officials

Among the applicants for the post of CIC were Vice Admiral (Retd) HCS Bisht, former Health Secretary Preeti Sudan, Press Information Bureau Director General Kuldeep Singh Dhatwalia, AIR Director General (News) Ira Joshi and former Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Kumar Patnaik, among others.

Both Sinha and Gupta had filed applications with the Search Committee. Two applications reached the government after the deadline, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said in the RTI response.

Also read: 2.21 lakh RTI appeals pending, nine ICs functioning without chiefs: Report

Sinha, a 1981-batch IFS officer, and Gupta, a 1982-batch IAS officer, were appointed as Information Commissioners on 30 December, 2018, and had taken charge two days later.

For the three posts of Information Commissioner, 355 applications were filed, out of which, the Search Committee had shortlisted seven, including that of journalist Uday Mahurkar who had not applied.

Read: 3.33 crore RTI queries filed in Centre, states since 2005; 38 posts of Information Commissioners vacant

Those shortlisted included Subhash Chandra, Meenakshi Gupta, Ira Joshi, Arun Kumar Panda, Saroj Punhani and Heera Lal Samariya, besides Mahurkar.

Mahurkar, Samariya and Punhani were finally chosen by the Selection Panel though one of the three members, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, submitted a dissent note objecting to Mahurkar's appointment as his name was not among the applicants but had found space in the short list. Union Home Minister Amit Shah was another member of the panel.

The government had issued notifications on the appointments of CIC and three Information Commissioners on November 7. At present, there are still three vacancies for Information Commissioners.

Read: RTI Act: 15 years on, transparency a mirage

A number of people who applied for the post of CIC also applied for the post of Information Commissioner, which included Ira Joshi, Sudan, Dhatwalia and others. Other applicants included Justice B K Shrivastava, Lt Gen (Retd) Dushyant Singh, former PIB Director General Frank Noronha and career diplomat Venu Rajamony.