Money and power attached to the top jobs in the Uttarakhand State Information Commission (USIC) have attracted applications from 180 serving and retired bureaucrats and journalists from within and without the state, a Right to Information activist Nadimuddin said on Friday.
All these job seekers have applied for three posts of the State Information Commissioner (SIC) and one of the Chief Information Commissioner in Uttarakhand. The posts were advertised in two phases after May 2015. However, the state government is yet to find the right persons for the jobs, he said.
The RTI Act was enacted in the country in May 2005. The Act gives impeccable power to an SIC and a CIC as they act as civil courts.
Top on the seekers’ list are additional chief secretary S Raju, IFS officer Vinod Kumar, retired IAS officer CMS Bisht, retired IFS officer GS Rawat along with 17 journalists and 32 having law degree holders, Naimuddin said.
He added that many have even applied from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Haryana for the ‘coveted’ positions. Nadimuddin said, “Information commissioners have power to drag officials who otherwise don’t care about system. There is also no space for political intervention therefore some bureaucrats prefer to join in the commission.”
The activist had sought the information about the applicants from the general administration department (Uttarakhand secretariat) on December 19, 2015. Joint secretary (General Administration Department) Kavindra Singh provided the information in a 47-page letter reply on Jan 21, 2016.
Acting CIC Rajendra Kotiyal, who was temporarily appointed in October last year, said that positions were advertised as he had only one SIC SS Rawat against the sanctioned strength of 10.
“We two are working round the corner to sort out appeals,” Kothiyal said, adding that presently some 25-30 appeals were listed for hearing before the CIC and by only one SIC.
Former state chief secretaries RS Tolia and NS Napalchiyal had held the position of the CIC earlier. Tolia worked alone for the first four years from the day of appointment in 2005. In 2009 he got one SIC. In 2010 Napalchiyal was appointed for five years whose tenure expired in 2015. In the meantime two SICs were appointed in 2010 whose tenure also ended last year. Although, the huge number of applicants has apparently stopped government from moving forward.
Chief minister Harish Rawat’s spokesperson Surender Kumar said, “We are hopeful that the appointment committee will meet shortly and finalise the names.