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karira

PM to meet Advani on Tuesday to decide on new CIC head

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karira

As reported by PTI in hindustantimes.com on 26 October 2009:

PM to meet Advani on Tuesday to decide on new CIC head- Hindustan Times

 

PM to meet Advani on Tuesday to decide on new CIC head

 

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to meet Leader of Opposition LK Advani on Tuesday to discuss appointent of a new Chief Information Commissioner as the incumbent Wajahat Habibullah has resigned.

 

Official sources said that the three member committee comprising the Prime Minister, Advani and Law Minister Veerappa Moily is likely to meet on Tuesday to discuss the matter.

 

Minister of State for Personnel and Training Prithviraj Chavan is also likely to be present during the meeting as RTI comes under his Ministry.

 

Habibullah, will be joining as the first State Information Commissioner in Jammu and Kashmir where the state government has recently constituted the Commission once his resignation is accepted by the President.

 

The Commissioner was to take the oath of his new office today but could not do so as he was asked by the Government to continue till his successor is decided.

 

"I was planning to take oath of office today but I have been asked to continue till the new Chief Information Commissioner is decided. I cannot join the new office until relieved from my duties here," Habibullah told PTI.

 

As per the law, the charge of the CIC cannot be handed over to any other person on ad hoc basis. Even if Habibullah wishes to do so, the new person's name needs to be ratified by the three-member committee.

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karira

As reported in news.rediff.com on 27 October 2009:

PM-Advani meeting to decide new CIC postponed: Rediff.com India News

PM-Advani meeting to decide new CIC postponed

 

The appointment of a new chief information commissioner has been deferred as the scheduled meeting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Leader of Opposition L K Advani has been postponed.

 

Official sources said the meeting of the three-member committee comprising the Prime Minister, Advani and Law Minister Veerappa Moily has been postponed without citing any reasons and no new date has been given.

 

The selection of the new CIC was necessitated as the present incumbent Wajahat Habibullah tendered his resignation recently.

 

Habibullah will be serving as the first State Information Commissioner in Jammu and Kashmir, where the state government has recently constituted the Commission. He was to take the oath of his new office on Monday but could not do so as he was asked by the government to continue till his successor is decided.

 

As per the law, the charge of the CIC cannot be handed over to any other person on ad hoc basis. Even if Habibullah wishes to do so, the new person's name needs to be ratified by the three-member committee.

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karira

As reported by Amrita U Kadam in hindustantimes.com on 28 October 2009:

?Process of selecting info chief must be transparent?- Hindustan Times

 

‘Process of selecting info chief must be transparent’

 

If the Right To Information Act talks about transparency, it should apply even to the selection procedure of the Chief Central Information Commissioner, echoed the RTI activists who would now file a petition with the Delhi High Court.

 

The appointment of a new chief information commissioner is due after the current chief Wajahat Habibullah has been appointed as state information commissioner in Jammu and Kashmir. Activists are now opposing the process of selection of the new chief that according to them is ‘iniquitous’.

 

“At present, the selection is not on merit but is based on recommendation and favouritism,” said RTI activist Krishnaraj Rao.

 

Central Information Commissioner, Shailesh Gandhi told HT: “I have been saying that since the time I was appointed because I feel that even my selection was not done following the right procedure of selection. It’s a democracy and the selection should be transparent.”

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karira

As reported by Anil Singh in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 30 October 2009:

CIC selection system farud: RTI activists - Mumbai - City - The Times of India

CIC selection system farud: RTI activists

 

MUMBAI: Shouldn't there be transparency in the selection of the person who will be in charge of ensuring transparency in governance on behalf of one billion Indians? This is the question posed by citizens and Right to Information (RTI) activists to the PM who has to select a new chief information commissioner (CIC).

 

Wajahat Habibullah, a former bureaucrat who was appointed the first CIC in October 2005, resigned recently and is waiting to take over the job of the first chief state information commissioner of Jammu & Kashmir. He remains CIC till his successor is appointed.

 

The current method of appointment of the CIC and even SICs is based on insider-information, contacts and recommendations and is violative of Section 12 of the RTI Act of 2005 as the post is not advertised, say the city's RTI activists who met on Tuesday to devise protest strategies.

 

Section 12(5) of the RTI Act states,"The CIC and the information commissioners under him shall be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance.''

 

"To give such persons a fair chance to apply, the government must cast its net far and wide,'' said RTI activist Krishnaraj Rao. "Hand-picking people from a small circle at the DoPT (department of personnel & training), PMO and the CIC, as the government is doing now, is a sure way of defeating excellence, nurturing mediocrity and protecting vested interests within the administration,'' he added. Acording to him, Australia's RTI Act insists on advertising for the post of the information commissioner.

 

The CIC is on a par with chief election commissioner and the appointment committee for the post constitutes the PM, the Leader of the Opposition and a Union cabinet minister nominated by the PM (law minister Veerappa Moily).

 

"The appointment of the CIC and SICs is done in a manner that is far from transparent,'' said RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal, who won the Magsaysay award. "The information commission should not be reduced to a parking ground for retired bureaucrats or to rehabilitate political loyalists,'' he added.

 

Gaurang Vora, also a civic activist, says the present system of selection violates Article 16 of the Constitution as well because it is biased towards Delhi-based bureaucrats, especially those have worked in the DoPT, I&B ministry and PMO (see box). He points out to the composition of the present eight-member team under the CIC, where the only non-bureaucrats are Annapurna Dixit and Mumbai's Shailesh Gandhi, an entrepreneur-turned-RTI activist. In fact, Gandhi himself is opposed to the present selection process.

 

Activists say the current method of selection is also violative of Article 13 which says that any law or selection procedure inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental rights is void.

 

Activists say the current method of appointing CICs is also against the spirit of Article 38 which says that the state shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice - social, economic and political - shall inform all the institutions of the national life.

 

Courts have held that any private citizen can file a petition of Quo Warranto to challenge the appointment of a public official even though his\her personal rights are not directly affected. RTI activists plan to do exactly this by filing a PIL in the Delhi high court.

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karira

As reported by Anil Singh of TNN in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 01 November 2009:

Anna Hazare, Aamir Khan want Kiran Bedi to hold top RTI job - India - The Times of India

 

Anna Hazare, Aamir Khan want Kiran Bedi to hold top RTI job

 

MUMBAI: Social activist Anna Hazare and a host of other eminent people have written to the Prime Minister proposing the name of Kiran Bedi, India's first woman IPS officer, for the job of chief central information commissioner (CCIC). Following this, Right to Information (RTI) activists led by Magsaysay award winner Arvind Kejriwal are rooting for her.

 

Hazare has written to Manmohan Singh as well as Sonia Gandhi saying that Bedi be appointed CCIC as she has the best credentials to be the person who will be demanding transparency in governance on behalf of a billion Indians. "If you are appointing another person, please let us know how that person is more suitble than Kiran Bedi,'' says the letter.

 

Among the others who have written to the PM are actor Aamir Khan and Subhash Chandra of the Zee group. Several other dignitaries, such as Narayana Murthy of Infosys, are to send their letters on Monday.

 

"We have learnt that the government is appointing a person of its choice as CCIC in two days without the wide consultation that is needed for it,'' said Kejriwal.

 

Bedi, a national tennis champ, joined the Indian Police Service in 1972 and was acknowledged as a tough and upright officer. She received the Magsaysay award in 1994 for her work in prison reforms as inspector general of police in charge of Delhi's Tihar jail. Bedi opted for voluntary retirement in 2007 after being bypassed for the post of

Delhi police commissioner. She plays the host and chief judge in a popular TV series, "Aap ki Kutchehri", where she resolves domestic problems. She also runs two non-government organisatons for prison reforms, child welfare, and against drug abuse.

 

The process of appointing central information commissioners has been opaque and concerned citizens and RTI activists have been demanding a transparent and more participatory process. Generally, bureaucrats close to the powers-that-be in Delhi are chosen. In fact, Kejriwal has been saying that the Information Commission is in danger of becoming a parking ground for retired bureaucrats and political loyalists.

 

For the moment, Wajahat Habibullah will continue as CCIC till his successor is chosen. Appointed the first CCIC of India in October 2005, Habibullah, a former bureaucrat, resigned recently and will take charge as the first chief information commissioner of Jammu & Kashmir.

 

The CCIC will be chosen by a three-member panel comprising the PM, the leader of the opposition (L K Advani) and a cabinet minister nominated by the PM (Veerappa Moily). The post is on a par with the Election Commissioner of India and the term is five years or up to the age of 65. The CIC can have a team of 10 central information commissioners working under him/her. At present, there are eight, including Shailesh Gandhi, who was Mumbai's best-known RTI activist. In fact, Gandhi is only one of the two non-bureaucrats in the eight-member panel. The

other non-bureaucrat is Annapurna Dixit, widow of former national security adviser J N Dixit.

 

RTI activists say the current method of appointing the CCIC and state information commissioners, based on insider information, contacts and recommendations, without advertising and inviting applications, violates Section 12 of the RTI Act 2005. Section 12(5) states: “The Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners shall be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance.”

 

To give such people a fair chance to apply, RTI activists say, the government must cast its net far and wide, all over India and in all walks of life. It must advertise the position, attract a good number of candidates and select the best from among them with proper screening procedures. Handpicking people from a small inner circle at DoPT, PMO and Central Information Commission, as it is doing now, is a sure way of defeating excellence, nurturing mediocrity and protecting vested interests within the administration, say RTI activists.

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karira

As reported by Mohua Chatterjee of TNN in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 07 November 2009:

Govt had put off Nov 2 meeting to decide next CIC - India - The Times of India

 

Govt had put off Nov 2 meeting to decide next CIC

 

NEW DELHI: The government seems to be in a fix over appointing the next chief information commissioner to succeed Wajahat Habibullah, who has

moved to J&K to head the state information commission there with a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Leader of Opposition L K Advani being put off.

 

A meeting had been scheduled for November 2 to discuss the next incumbent. The meeting was called off at the last moment and nothing has been scheduled so far on the issue.

 

It is likely that the government called off the meeting after media reports on the same day said civil society groups were demanding a "transparent" procedure to nominate a CIC, rather than have the political class place bureacrats of their choice in the chair and even suggesting the name of Kiran Bedi.

 

While the government, it is learnt, was considering promoting one of the two existing information commissioners -- M M Ansari and A N Tiwari -- as chief information commissioner, civil society groups mobilised by RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal objected to the move, claiming that surveys had shown that Ansari and Tiwari had withheld more information than providing them to a huge majority of applicants under RTI Act.

 

The Kejriwal-led group, that includes actor Aamir Khan and social activist Anna Hazare among others, have written to the PM, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and leader of Opposition L K Advani on the issue. "It is only the Leader of Opposition who has given us a hearing so far," Kejriwal told TOI on Friday.

 

Advani, it is learnt, has no objection to Kiran Bedi as CIC. According to sources close to Advani, he has no specific names in mind but agrees that there should be an open and transparent procedure to nominate the CIC.

 

"We have got to know that the government has received a good number of names by now and can choose from any one of them," Kejriwal said, adding, "All we are asking is to reach a consensus through a transparent procedure."

 

Kejriwal said Indonesia and South Africa, which had institutions like CIC, advertised for the top post and Indonesia received 140 names to choose from last year. "Why can't we too have a transparent system like that," he asked.

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karira

As reported by IANS in thaindian.com on 17 November 2009:

RTI activist Shekhar Singh being considered for CIC post

 

RTI activist Shekhar Singh being considered for CIC post

 

New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) Prominent Right to Information (RTI) activist Shekhar Singh is among the persons being considered for the post of chief information commissioner (CIC), government sources said here.

“Shekhar Singh is one of the prominent RTI activists and his name is among the top two names being considered for the post,” a senior government official told IANS.

 

Sources said the other person being considered is a senior bureaucrat from Madhya Pradesh and the decision to select the CIC is expected to be taken by the end of this week.

 

The present CIC Wajahat Habibullah quit the post last month to head the information commission of Jammu and Kashmir on Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s request.

 

Singh is founder member of the National Campaign For People’s Right To Information (NCPRI), India, a movement working towards making government and society more transparent and accountable.

 

When asked about being a contender for the CIC post, Singh said he has not heard anything about it from the government.

 

“I have not heard anything about it from the government. But if any offer like that comes my way, I will consult the other members of my movement. I am part of this movement and can’t take any decision myself,” Singh told IANS.

 

Singh has been campaigning for several years for the RTI act.

 

Singh played a very important role in the drafting of the RTI bill in 2004-2005. The Right to Information Act was passed by parliament in 2005.

 

Currently NCPRI, along with other activists and civil society groups, is planning protests across the country to stop any proposed amendment in the Act. NCPRI has been advocating for proper implementation of the Act rather than amendments.

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karira

As reported by Nidhi Sharma in dailypioneer.com on 19 November 2009:

The Pioneer > Online Edition : >> RTI activist Shekhar Singh tipped to be next CIC

 

RTI activist Shekhar Singh tipped to be next CIC

 

Environmentalist and prominent RTI activist Shekhar Singh is tipped to be the next Central Information Commission (CIC) chief. This move is being seen as Government’s bid to blunt the civil society’s campaign for bringing transparency in appointment of Information Commissioners as activists are unlikely to protest against one of their own.

 

According to well-placed sources, the name of Shekhar Singh, who is the head of NGO National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), would be put before a three-member selection committee headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Leader of Opposition LK Advani and Law Minister M Veerappa Moily. Sources said the committee is likely to meet before the Prime Minister leaves for the United States on Friday.

 

The meeting was earlier supposed to be held on Thursday but it got postponed because of the packed schedule of the Prime Minister with first day of Parliament, Cabinet meeting and functions to commemorate Indira Gandhi’s birth anniversary on Thursday. Minister of State for Personnel Prithviraj Chavan said, “We want to find a Chief Information Commissioner as soon as possible. The meeting of the committee will be held very soon.”

 

The civil society, however, is now seeing the bid to replace bureaucrat and Nehru-Gandhi family loyalist Wajahat Habibullah with NGO activist Singh as a move to silence campaign for transparency in the selection. So far, India has not followed any selection procedure for selecting Information Commissioners for CIC and State commissions. The appointment as Information Commissioner has increasingly become a lucrative post-retirement option for bureaucrats.

 

RTI activists on Wednesday shot off fresh round of letters to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister and Advani. The letter said, “Several names are floating around as being in consideration list of Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT). Intense lobbying is believed to be going on for these posts. How did these names make it to that list? Who lobbied for whom? Why were some names found less suitable and others more suitable?

 

Such secret, unholy and unhealthy lobbying weakens democracy and promotes godfather culture.”

 

RTI activists like Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Arvind Kejriwal have been protesting against the Government’s practice of randomly selecting anybody as Information Commissioner.

 

Shekhar Singh, an alumnus of the reputed St Stephen’s College of Delhi University, has been a distinguished academician. He is an environmentalist whose major areas of specialisation are environmental management, ethics and administration. He taught at Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA). In 2002, he took voluntary retirement from IIPA first to become director of Centre for Equity Studies, New Delhi, and then to head NCPRI. He has also taught at North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong, and at St Stephen’s College. It is this record of his that makes him acceptable to the civil society.

 

Though he is not a babu in the real sense of the word but Singh has held several advisory positions in Government committees and organisations. He has worked as advisor on environment and forests in Planning Commission, secretary of Island Development Authority of India, chaired by Prime Minister (1990-91), was head of Government of India’s statutory Environmental Appraisal Committee for power projects (1991-92) and Supreme Court of India Commissioner for forests and related matters in Andaman and Nicobar Islands (2001-02). He was the only independent member of Narmada Control Authority Sub-Group on Environment.

 

More recently, he was chair of the Government of India’s task force on governance, transparency, participation and Environmental Impact Assessment in the environment and forest sector for the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-12).

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karira

As reported by Anita Joshua and Vidya Subrahmaniam in hindu.com on 21 November 2009:

The Hindu : New Delhi News : Wait for the next CIC continues

 

Wait for the next CIC continues

 

Over hour-long critical meeting remains inconclusive

 

Discussions to resume after Dr. Singh returns from abroad

 

Advani had some reservations over the names

 

New Delhi: A crucial meeting to decide a successor to Wajahat Habibullah, who resigned recently as head of the Central Information Commission, remained inconclusive on Friday, suggesting stumbling blocks in the appointment to the topmost Right to Information job.

 

Held against the backdrop of hectic lobbying and counter-lobbying by RTI activists, the over hour-long meeting had attracted wide attention. In the event, the three-member committee, comprising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani and Human Resource Development Minister Veerappa Moily, could not arrive at a common decision.

 

Informed sources said discussions would resume after Dr. Singh returned from his upcoming visit to the United States and Trinidad. The indication so far is that Mr. Advani had some reservations over the shortlisted names. However, official channels denied that Mr. Advani had presented a dissenting note, as suggested by RTI activists.

 

Controversy has dogged the appointment of the CIC with RTI activists, themselves a divided lot, demanding transparency in the selection process. Earlier this month, Kiran Bedi’s name came into circulation following a vigorous public campaign mounted by such prominent names as social activist Anna Hazare, actor Aamir Khan and Magsaysay award winner Arvind Kejriwal. Along with many others, the three wrote to the Prime Minister and to the Congress president Sonia Gandhi, arguing that Ms. Bedi had the best credentials for the job. “If you are appointing any other person, please let us know how that person is more suitable than Kiran Bedi,” the letter said.

 

Since then, several names have been floated by opposing groups of RTI activists, resulting in growing rumour-mongering and speculation. Indeed, the day began on a stormy note with a flood of e-mails from RTI activists who alleged that the government had unilaterally decided on M.M. Ansari, the seniormost Information Commissioner after Mr. Habibullah.

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karira

As reported by Nidhi Sharma in dailypioneer.com on 21 November 2009:

The Pioneer > Online Edition : >> CIC selection process under cloud

 

CIC selection process under cloud

 

Decision on new chief deferred to December

 

The first meeting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh-led three-member selection committee to find a new chief for Central Information Commission (CIC) remained inconclusive as reservations were expressed over Government's selection procedure. The decision would now be taken in December only after the PM's return from the US.

 

The selection panel, comprising Leader of Opposition LK Advani and Law Minister M Veerappa Moily, met at Prime Minister's 7 Race Course Road residence on Friday evening. The meeting lasted for one-and-half hours. According to Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) sources, reservations were expressed about the selection process. After a long discussion, the decision was deferred till the Prime Minister's return.

 

According to well-placed sources, the DoPT, the parent ministry for the CIC, had prepared a list of nominees which included Information Commissioners MM Ansari and AN Tiwari and environmentalist and RTI activist Shekhar Singh. With the campaign for transparency getting shriller, DoPT finally decided to go by seniority. Ansari, an academician, is the senior-most Information Commissioner after outgoing chief Wajahat Habibullah. He seems to have emerged as the front-runner for the post.

 

Meetings to select an Information Commissioner are usually formalities and all the three members agree on the names. Usually, it takes only a single sitting to agree on a name. However, the selection panel lasted for over one hour but remained inconclusive.

 

A senior Department of Personnel and Training official said, “There were some reservations expressed in the meeting. It could be on the selection procedure. The matter has now been deferred till December.”

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Atul Patankar

As reported by Mohua Chatterjee at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 25 November 2009

 

NEW DELHI: The UPA wanted to install information commissioner M A Ansari as the next CIC following Wajahat Habibullah’s acceptance of the J&K state information commissioner’s post but leader of Opposition L K Advani, it is learnt, objected to the government’s choice.

 

The process of choosing a consensus candidate for the post will now be taken up at a meeting after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh returns from his US trip.

 

The PM had called a meeting last week to decide on the CIC, and it was attended by Advani, law minister Veerappa Moily and minister of state in PMO Prithviraj Chavan. The two names that were put forward by the government for the CIC’s post were that of the two serving information commissioners — M A Ansari and A N Tiwari — of which the government’s preference was for Ansari, it is learnt.

 

Advani objected to the names of both Ansari and Tiwari and said that if the government went ahead with any of these, he would not give a dissenting note, that could embarrass the government, but he would abstain from voting.

 

At the suggestion, Moily and Chavan are learnt to have promptly got up to close the case with Ansari’s name. But Advani told the PM that since the government would not announce his abstention, it would seem that the BJP leader was party to the decision. The PM saw the point and agreed to delay the decision and have a consensus candidate in place, it is learnt.

 

Advani argued that there had been considerable delay in finalising the new CIC and a few more days would not really matter to which the PM agreed, it is learnt.

 

The PM also accepted Advani’s suggestion that a shortlist of candidates be drawn up before the next meeting so that the new CIC could be chosen from among them.

 

Advani, it is learnt, also said he had no objections to either retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi or RTI activist Shekhar Singh, whose names have cropped up for the post.

 

It has been decided that Moily will consult senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley to draw up a panel of names to be considered. Moily has still to meet Jaitley with the names.

 

Source: Advani vetoed govt's pick for CIC - India - The Times of India

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karira

As reported by Syed Asim Ali in The Asian Age on 25 November 2009:

The Asian Age - Enjoy the difference

 

Moily to meet Jaitley to shortlist CIC names

 

Nov. 25: After the first meeting to install the new Chief Information Commissioner ended on a dissenting note, the Union law minister, Mr Veerappa Moily, is likely to meet BJP’s Arun Jaitley on Thursday to decide upon the names shortlisted for the CIC post.

 

Sources have confirmed that out of the nine names running for the post, the Opposition is most likely to have a consensus with the Centre on former super cop, Kiran Bedi.

 

According to the sources close to the Union minister of Law, it is learnt that the Opposition is likely to agree either on retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi or RTI activist Shekhar Singh, whose names have already cropped up for the post.

 

However, the process of choosing a consensus candidate for the post will be taken up at a meeting after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh returns from his US trip. The date of the meeting should be finalised in a couple of days, said a source.

 

The UPA wanted to install information commissioner M.A. Ansari as the next CIC following Wajahat Habibullah’s acceptance of the J&K state information commissioner’s post but the Leader of the Opposition, Mr L.K. Advani, it is learnt, objected to the government’s choice.

 

The PM had called a meeting last week to decide on the CIC, and it was attended by Advani, Mr Moily and minister of state in PMO Prithviraj Chavan. The two names that were put forward by the government for the CIC’s post were that of the two serving information commissioners — M.A. Ansari and A.N. Tiwari — of which the government’s preference was for Ansari, said sources. However, after objecting to the names of both Mr Ansari and Mr Tiwari, Mr L.K. Advani, said that if the government went ahead with any of these, he would not agree, which can embarrass the government if he abstains from voting.

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karira

As reported by PTI in deccanchronicle.com on 09 December 2009:

CIC selection questioned | Deccan Chronicle

 

CIC selection questioned

 

Questions are being raised by RTI activists on the selection process adopted by the Government for the appointment of a new chief information commissioner to succeed Wajahat Habibullah, who is slated to take over as the new head of the RTI panel of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

The activists have alleged that websites of Prime Minister's Office and Department of Personnel and Training have not posted any information about the appointment process which is mandatory under the RTI Act.

 

The PMO website lists six committees chaired by the Prime Minister but does not mention the selection committee which is also headed by him and also includes leader of opposition and a union cabinet minister nominated by him, according to Mumbai-based RTI activist Krishnaraj Rao.

 

The details of these committees are put on the web site under the Section 4(1)(b) of the RTI Act, mandating proactive disclosure of information, but the details of selection committee, for choosing the transparency panel head, constituted under the same Act is missing, Rao said.

 

Similarly, the Department of Personnel and Training which is a nodal department for the implementation of the RTI Act has clearly mentioned criteria for the selection of Registrar, Central Information Commission on its website but same has not been done for the post of CIC.

 

"These details should be on the websites. I fully support that entire process of selection of the Chief Information Commissioner should be transparent. I fail to understand why government is not doing it despite so much of public pressure," said Magsaysay award winner Arvind Kejariwal.

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karira

As reported by IANS in newkerala.com on 21 December 2009:

New chief information commissioner this week .:. newkerala.com Online News -15768

 

New chief information commissioner this week

 

New Delhi, Dec 21 : The new Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) is expected to be announced this week and will be from within the Central Information Commission, said highly placed sources.

 

"The announcement will be this week once the current parliament session ends," a top government official told IANS.

 

The government is yet to name a successor to Wajahat Habibullah after he resigned in October to take up his new job as the head of the Information Commission of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

He is shifting to Kashmir on Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's request.

 

"I have not been relieved and will move on to my next assignment once the government announces my successor," Habibullah told IANS.

 

The CIC is appointed by a committee which comprises the prime minister, leader of the opposition and a cabinet minister.

 

One such meeting took place last month between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Bharatiya Janata Party's L.K. Advani and Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily.

 

But it remained inconclusive as Advani expressed reservations about the selection process of the new CIC.

 

Prior to the meeting, Magsaysay award winner and prominent Right to Information (RTI) activist

Arvind Kejriwal along with others had shot off letters to Manmohan Singh, Advani and Congress president Sonia Gandhi demanding a transparent, inclusive and participatory process for CIC's selection.

 

The RTI Act 2005 specifies the composition

of the selection committee but does not talk about advertising and shortlisting of CICs.

 

At the meeting, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the nodal department to handle RTI, come up with names of the present information commissioner M.M. Ansari and RTI activist Shekhar Singh for the post.

 

After Advani's reservations, a decision was deferred till the return of the prime minister from his US visit.

 

Ansari, who is among the favourites for the post, has been severely criticised by activists for being soft on bureaucrats and not levying penalties on erring officials.

 

"The new CIC is expected to be from among the present commissioners. It seems the government is not keen on bringing someone else for the top post," a source said.

 

Bollywood star Aamir Khan, social activist Anna Hazare and a host of other eminent citizens had vigorously campaigned for IPS officer Kiran Bedi.

 

Government sources pointed out that Bedi's name was not being considered.

 

The delay in the selection of new CIC has however shortened the duration of Habibullah's stay as the head of Jammu and Kashmir's information commission. He will now have only 10 months to set up the body.

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