Civil society loses CIC seat to Sushma Swaraj’s candidate
Civil society lost its place in the information watchdog, the Central Information Commission (CIC), to accommodate Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj's choice of candidate. HT reports.delhi Updated: May 15, 2012 23:04 IST
Civil society lost its place in the information watchdog, the Central Information Commission (CIC), to accommodate Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj's choice of candidate.
A committee headed by PM Manmohan Singh had selected two civil servants —Rajiv Mathur and Vijai Sharma — and Swaraj's candidate Basant Seth as information commissioners.
An RTI reply has now revealed that Seth and Swaraj's other choice IAS officer Raghu Menon, were not in the list of nine persons short-listed by a screening committee headed by cabinet secretary Ajit Seth.
The committee had suggested three panels, each consisting of three names. The first two panels were of civil servants and third of civil society members. According to the minutes of the meeting chaired by Singh, the panel made the selection on the basis of the diversity, relevance and length of experience "with some preference for legal background and strategic exposure".
The documents did not indicate why the selection committee tweaked rules to give precedence to "strategic exposure", said Lokesh Batra, who filed the RTI request. It was in line with this precedence that the former Intelligence Bureau chief Rajiv Mathur was appointed.
As Swaraj came up with her own panel, the committee agreed to select a name each from first two panels. No one from the third panel of two journalists, Sona Jha and Dr Anuradha Verma, and social activist S Venkatesh Nayak was selected.
Once the only civil society member Shailesh Gandhi retires later this year, the CIC will become a club of retired government functionaries.