Hasten appointments in transparency panel: Court (Lead)

February 15th, 2012 - 10:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) The government was Wednesday directed by the Delhi High Court to frame rules granting autonomy to the Central Information Commission (CIC) for filling up within a month vacancies of information commissioners and subordinate staff.

The order came in response to a suit filed by Right to Information (RTI) activist R.K. Jain who highlighted the lack of transparency and accountability in the appointments in the CIC.

The petitioner sought the filling up of vacancies in the panel in a transparent manner.

The division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice R.S. Endlaw also directed the search committee headed by the cabinet secretary to place the final shortlist before the selection committee headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh within a month.

Government counsel submitted that advertisements had been issued for appointments and 214 applications had been received for the posts.

Advocate Pranav Sachdeva, appearing for the petitioner, alleged that there was no transparency in the selection process. He alleged that the lack of timely selection of employees had led to a backlog of almost 30,000 appeals and complaints in the commission.

With almost 30,000 cases pending before the CIC, it will take two years to clear the backlong, whereas as per the RTI Act information sought by an applicant should be given within 30 days, the advocate said.

Disposing of the petition, the court said that if information was delayed then the whole purpose of RTI Act is defeated.

The petition said that the vacancies of subordinate staff in the last three years had grown to 108 and there were five vacancies of information commissioners in CIC.

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