Repatriation of CIC secretary is a setback to RTI, say activists
The CIC had earlier this month implemented the directive of the cabinet committee of appointments to send back its secretary Anjali Anand Srivastava to her parent cadre of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).india Updated: Apr 19, 2018 00:32 IST
In what is perceived as another setback to Right to Information (RTI), the government has repatriated the administrative head of the Central Information Commission, the body mandated under law to hear appeals against government for denial of information, to her parent cadre.
The CIC had earlier this month implemented the directive of the cabinet committee of appointments to send back its secretary Anjali Anand Srivastava to her parent cadre of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
“Upon acceptance of the premature repatriation order of the competent authority… Anjali Anand Srivastava is relieved of her duties as secretary, the Central Information Commission,” said an order issued by Shanti Priya Beck, joint secretary at the commission.
RTI activists consider it as another blow to the provision as the commission is already working on a depleted strength of six information commissioners and a chief information commissioner. By December this year, another four information commissioners, including the chief, will retire.
“We are already seeing that non-filling of vacancies in the commission has led to a rise in the pendency of cases. And, this has had a detrimental impact on the efficacy of the RTI law that empowered citizens to ask questions,” said RTI activist Lokesh Batra, whose many appeals are pending with the CIC.
Anjali Bhardwaj of the Nati- onal Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) said the government is also trying to “weaken” the CIC by downgrading the status of information commissioners. The government has proposed that the information commissioners should get salary and allowances equivalent to a secretary, government of India. At present, it is the same as that of a Supreme Court judge.
Activists also say repatriation of Srivastava is part of a series of attempts to dilute the impact of the transparency law.