Ignoring protests by some RTI activists, Governor K Sankaranarayanan cleared the appointment of Vilas Patil as the state’s Chief Information Commissioner. Patil will be administered the oath of office at Raj Bhavan on Thursday.
This comes in the face of RTI activists as well as veteran activist Anna Hazare opposing the appointments of CIC and other information commissioners alleging that the appointments were not transparent. Incensed, activists from across the city have now planned a protest outside Raj Bhavan on Thursday morning, when the Governor will swear in Patil along with the other state information commissioners.
Hazare had written to the chief minister, slamming the move to appoint Patil as state CIC, terming it ‘unfortunate’. Hazare even met Sankaranarayanan on Wednesday, as the latter visited Ralegan Siddhi, Hazare’s village.
The veteran activist had promised to raise the issue of the appointments at his meeting with the Governor. However, the Governor has gone ahead with the appointment.
Activists have been attempting to build pressure on the Governor to not give his nod to the appointments, made by a state panel comprising chief minister Ashok Chavan, deputy CM Chhagan Bhujbal and Opposition leader Eknath Khadse.
On Tuesday, Chavan had vehemently defended the government’s selection of Patil. “We have gone strictly by the Act while nominating the candidate. There is no controversy or lack of transparency in our selection,” he had told this newspaper.
Hazare, along with city-based activists like Gerson da Cunha and Julio Ribeiro, had written to the Governor to not approve the appointments. However, the Governor has refused to respond to the various pleas by activists. A Raj Bhavan source said, “The Governor believes this issue is not in his purview as the appointments require only a ceremonial sanction. Hence, he is not too keen on ruffling feathers in the state over it.”