The department of personnel and training, in reply to an RTI application filed by the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), has said that no minutes were kept for the meetings of the search committee for the appointment of a central information commissioner and an information commissioner in the Central Information Commission. The commission, the highest appellate authority for aggrieved applicants under the Right to Information Act, has been without a chief information commissioner for seven months now.
In reply to an RTI filed by Amrita Johri on behalf of NCPRI in which she asked about the date and agenda of the meetings along with copies of the minutes and who had attended those meetings, DoPT wrote that the meetings were held on January 16 and February 2 but the minutes had not been recorded in the file. “Since minutes have not been recorded in the file, undersigned in not aware as to who attended those meetings,” reads the reply from DoPT CPIO R K Girdhar.
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Revealing the contents of the RTI reply, activist Aruna Roy said: “This is the most closed government I have seen. It is impossible to get any response out of this government… government of India cannot not record what it is doing. How can they work on Kindle? This is mismanagement, misgovernance and completely arbitrary use of power… there can even be corruption,” she said.
She expressed her concern at the delay in the appointment of the CIC and also the fact that the rules have not been framed under the legislation to protect whistleblowers. She also said the proposed amendments to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas (amendment) Bill 2014 would dilute the powers of the anti-corruption ombudsman.