The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has received 486 applications for the posts of central information commissioners which are currently vacant.
The applicants include several serving and retired bureaucrats, and candidates from the legal field, social sector, management, science and technology and other fields like media. Several of the applicants had applied last year as well.
The DoPT had called for applications in July this year and received them till August 19. There are currently three vacancies for the post of information commissioners. If one of the present commissioners is elevated to the post of Chief Information Commissioner, which is vacant since August, there will be a fourth vacancy.
Confirming the 486 applications, sources in the DoPT said the applicants include former DoPT secretaries P K Mishra and Shyamal Sarkar, former Information and Broadcasting secretary U K Verma, former Urban Development secretary Arun Kumar Mishra and former Law secretary B A Agarwal.
There are more than 200 applicants who are serving or retired bureaucrats, mostly from the Indian Administrative Service. They include former adviser of Bihar Planning Commission Anil Kumar, retired or serving secretaries of the government of India Sudhir Krishna, Ashok Thakur, Vishwa Pati Trivedi, D R S Chaudhary, Neeta Chaudhary, Madhav Lal, Sangeeta Gairola, Sanjay Srivastav, Pankaj Jain, M Farooqi, Johra Chatterjee, former ambassador to Jordan Radharanjan Das, former MEA secretary A K Atri, former ambassador to Turkey S G Thomas, retired Indian Economic Service officer P R Deviprasad among others.
The sources said that a panel of Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth and DoPT Secretary Sanjay Kothari will shortlist the candidates.
They said there are 98 names from the legal field but none of them are serving or retired judges of high court or Supreme Court. The post of the information commissioner has the rank and allowances equivalent to that of a Supreme Court judge.
Journalists, journalism teachers and even a manager in a district edition of a Hindi daily are among those who have applied from the media.
The sources said at least two applicants are aged less than 30 — a 27-year-old from Madhya Pradesh and a 29-year-old from Rajasthan. A computer operator in ICICI Bank in Kota has also applied.