THE CHIEF Information Commissioner (CIC) Justice MA Khan has directed the State Government to appoint a non-government and eminent Hindu as chairman of the Kashi Viswanath Temple Trust within a week.
Disposing of a complaint filed by Samajwadi Party leader Shatrudh Prakash challenging the appointment of Varanasi Commissioner CN Dubey as chairman of the temple trust, here on Monday, the CIC asked principal secretary (religious endowment) to take up the issue with the Chief Minister. “It is indeed sad that the State Government has been unable to find a suitable non-government candidate for such a prestigious position for the past three years,” he observed.
SP leader Shatrudh Prakash had earlier moved an application under the Right To Information Act (RTIA) wanting to know on what basis the Varanasi Commissioner was continuing on the post.
He had sought papers related to his appointment on the Trust from the Varanasi administration but the latter refused to part with the information following which, he had filed a complaint before the CIC.
After hearing both parties to the dispute, Justice Khan said that the Temple’s Act clearly stated that no government servant or non-Hindu can be nominated to the Trust. “However, the Varanasi Commissioner was not only a government servant but the post in future could also be occupied either by a Muslim, Sikh or a Christian. As such the Commissioner’s appointment was against the spirit and provisions of the Act,” he pointed. “Was the Commissioner’s appointment merely a stop-gap arrangement? I am sure the CM would look into the issue as to why no effort was made to fill up the prestigious post with a suitable candidate,” he added. A total of 16 cases were taken up for hearing on Monday.