MADHYA PRADESH is without a Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) since the retirement of T N Shrivastava on October 31. And the State government does not seem to be in a hurry to fill the post.
A three-member panel, headed by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, was to decide on the new CIC on November 3 but its meeting was deferred without fixing a date for the next one.
As the CM is scheduled to leave for a foreign trip on Saturday, there is no possibility of an appointment till his return on December 14.
Thus MP has earned a dubious distinction of being the only State in the country without an authority to implement the Right to Information (RTI) Act promulgated on October 12, 2005. A full commission has not ever come into being in the State.
The RTI Act provides for nomination of two to 10 commissioners, besides the CIC, in a state but MP’s commission has none so far. That reflects the State Government’s approach to a transparent administration.
Sources in the State Information Commission say that in the absence of the CIC, applications seeking information are piling up. “Each day on an average five applications are received but we are unable to take action as the commission is headless”, an official told Hindustan Times requesting anonymity.
When contacted, Shrivastava refused to comment on delay in appointment of his successor. He, however, said that the RTI Act provides all powers to the CIC (for disposal of applications). Leader of Opposition Jamuna Devi, a member of the panel to decide the next CIC, alleges that the government is not serious on the issuel. “The BJP Government is deliberately avoiding to provide the commission a full-fledged set-up,” she told Hindustan Times.
The third member, besides the CM and the Leader of Opposition, in the panel is Narendra Singh Tomar, who is holding duel responsibilities of a Cabinet minister and State BJP president.