Bowing to the long-standing demand of right to information (RTI) activists, the central government has agreed to make the process of appointment of information commissioners transparent.
According to a recent circular, the Central government has invited applications from eligible candidates for the coveted post before November 18.
The circular has been posted on the department of personnel and training (DoPT) web portal and the ministry of personnel, public grievance and pensions (DoPT) will be responsible for the appointment of five information commissioners.
“According to the RTI Act, 10 central information commissioners and one chief information commissioner can be appointed. Of which, five commissioners and one chief commissioner are currently working,” said Shailesh Gandhi, Central Information Commissioner.
Activists had slammed the earlier appointment process, which was spearheaded by a selection committee headed by the prime minister. They had alleged that the process of hand-picking information commissioners by the state and the central government was improper, and often people with vested interests and loyalties were nominated to the post.
As the chief information commissioner is accountable to the public, RTI activists sought transparency in appointment of information commissioners.
The activists have lauded the attempt to make the process transparent. “So far, information commissioners had been appointed without inviting applications. This is the first time that the government has asked people to apply. It’s the first step towards making the appointment process transparent,” said GR Vora, a city-based RTI activist.