The CIC, which has remained headless for over 10 months, may soon have a new chief with the Centre informing the Delhi High Court that candidates for the posts of Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners have been shortlisted and their vigilance clearance was awaited.
“… In continuation of earlier meetings held on January 16, 2015 and February 6, 2015, the search committee again met on April 27, 2015 and short listed applicants for the post(s) of Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioners (IC). “Vigilance clearance from the respective cadre controlling authority in respect of the shortlisted serving officers and inputs from the Intelligence Bureau in respect of retired officers has been sought vide communications dated May 5, 2015 and May 2, 2015, respectively,” the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) told the court.
The submission has been made by DoPT in its affidavit filed in response to the court’s direction to the government to expedite the appointment process and inform it about the progress as the vacancies in Central Information Commission have led to a massive backlog of cases.
Last week, Congress President Sonia Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue of vacant posts of CIC and Information Commissioners saying this has resulted in the backlog of 39,000 cases. DoPT in its affidavit, filed through central government standing counsel Jasmeet Singh, has also said, “The selection would, thereafter, be made by the selection committee headed by the Prime Minister as per the RTI Act, 2005.
“The Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners shall be appointed by the President on the recommendations of the selection committee.” The court on April 9 had said it would monitor the progress made by DoPT regarding filling the vacancies after Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain sought 12 weeks’ time to finalise the appointments.