Despite opposition from activists regarding the lack of transparency in the selection of information commissioners, the state selection committee has gone ahead and recommended Nagpur information commissioner Vilas Patil’s name for the post of state chief information commissioner (CIC).
Patil will succeed CIC Suresh Joshi. A panel comprising chief minister Ashok Chavan, deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal and opposition leader Eknath Khadse recommended Patil’s name for the position of state CIC.
The panel also recommended former public works department secretaries, MN Shah and DB Deshpande, for the posts of information commissioners in Nashik and Aurangabad, respectively.
PW Patil will be Nagpur’s new information commissioner.
An official announcement will be made after the governor’s endorsement.
What is significant, however, is that by this recommendation, the state decided to bypass the ex-IAS officers’ lobby and instead, made CICs’ appointments on the basis of seniority. The reasoning, insiders say, is that because the Centre had appointed AN Tiwari as the new chief CIC in place of outgoing chief CIC, Wajahat Habibullah, on the basis of seniority, the state should follow suit.
Officials in the fray for state CIC included former revenue secretary, Ramesh Kumar, former forest secretary, BP Pandey, Mumbai information commissioner, Ramanand Tiwari, and his Konkan counterpart Navinkumar.
Patil had a mixed tenure as the Nagpur CIC. One of his significant orders was to get the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary education to provide answer sheets to a student under RTI.