Right to Information (RTI) activists want the procedure for selection of state information commissioners to be transparent. “Information commissioners are arbitrarily selected, there is no process. The RTI Act states that eminent person should be appointed. There is no definition to eminence,” said Central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi.
The state government will soon have to appoint three information commissioners. The state’s chief information commissioner Vilas Patil will retire on Sunday as he completes 65 years of age.
Mumbai information commissioner's post has been vacant since Ramanand Tiwari was removed for his alleged involvement in the Adarsh society scam. Navin Kumar, Konkan region information commissioner, will retire in second week of August.
“The current process is fraud even though I was appointed through the same process,” said Gandhi.
“At Centre, the chief information commissioners are selected by a three-member selection committee that includes the Prime Minister, leader of the Opposition and one of the ministers,” he said.
“Similarly, the state commissioners are selected by a committee comprising the chief minister, leader of Opposition and one of the ministers,” he explained.
RTI activists said the three posts should be filled by a transparent process and by inviting applications from interested persons.
“Our demand is that the government should issue circular mentioning the eligibility criteria for the candidates and then short-list the applicants and select from those applicants,” said Krishnaraj Rao, an activist.
Sharing the same views, Pune-based activist Vihar Durve said, “The preamble of the RTI Act clearly states that transparency and accountability should be maintained by the government. Section 4 of the act also says that duties and functioning procedure of any public authority should be published on the website. So, that itself indicates that the selection process of the state information commissioner should be disclosed on the website.”