Sarwan Singh Channy, the recently retired 1982-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, has emerged as the frontrunner for the post of chief information commissioner (CIC) of Punjab, it is learnt.
The search committee headed by chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal and comprising principal secretary (governance reforms) C Roul and Lt Gen BS Dhaliwal (retd) held the meeting on July 21, and recommended a panel of three candidates to the committee of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, the minister incharge (deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal) and the leader of opposition in the Vidhan Sabha Sunil Kumar Jakhar for a final decision.
Top government sources said there were seven applicants and the committee recommended the names of Channy, besides DS Bains, another retired IAS officer whose last posting was principal secretary (home affairs and justice), and Dr Sudha Sharma, who retired from the Indian Revenue Service (IRS). Channy, in the rank of chief secretary, had also retired from the post of principal secretary (home affairs and justice).
The CIC post fell vacant after the five-year term of RI Singh, former Punjab chief secretary, ended on June 28. The state government had constituted the state information commission in October 2005 and appointed Rajan Kashyap, former Punjab chief secretary, as the first CIC.
In a clear indication that Channy, a Punjab-cadre officer, could be picked up from the panel of three candidates, the search committee brought on record the merits and demerits of the candidates in the fray and noted: “…But the distinct advantage in comparative merit is in favour of SS Channy who besides his vast (administrative) experience and PhD… holds a degree of law which is advantageous in deciding cases as chief information commissioner.”
The search panel specifically pointed out that Dr Sharma served outside Punjab.
The seven candidates who were shortlisted also included lawyers Sanjiv Dutt Sharma and Dr Sandeep Singh; Dr Ved Parkash; and Vijay Kumar, an assistant professor in a Haryana university.