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karira

Uttar Pradesh chief information commissioner faces probe (Lead)

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karira

As reported by IANS on thaiindian.com on 9 July 2008:

Uttar Pradesh chief information commissioner faces probe (Lead) - Thaindian News

 

Uttar Pradesh chief information commissioner faces probe (Lead)

 

 

Lucknow, July 9 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh chief information commissioner Justice (retd) M.A. Khan was Wednesday debarred from performing his duties as Governor T.V. Rajeswar recommended to the Supreme Court to initiate an inquiry against him, officials said. Khan has been accused of misconduct and lack of capability to perform his duties, they added.

 

Following a complaint by a panel of social activists, he was prohibited to attend his office till the inquiry was over, the officials added.

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karira

As reported by ENS in expressindia.com on 10 July 2008:

Rajeshwar suspends Chief Information Commissioner - ExpressIndia.Com

 

Rajeshwar suspends Chief Information Commissioner

 

Lucknow, July 9 Uttar Pradesh Governor TV Rajeswar suspended the state’s Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) MA Khan today for alleged misconduct and grave irregularities in some appointments. Khan was barred from entering his office.

 

The Governor also initiated the process for his removal — making a reference to the Supreme Court for an inquiry into the charges against him.

 

Under Section 17 of the RTI Act, the Governor can remove the CIC for misbehaviour or incapacity after the Supreme Court, in an inquiry made on his reference, has found the charges true. Pending the inquiry, his entry in office can be barred.

 

A cryptic note, issued by the Chief Secretary’s office, said there were complaints that Khan had adopted a style of work that was seen as violation of Right To Information (RTI) Act, 2005. He also interfered with the functioning of other officials of the commission.

 

Khan could not be reached for comment. The Governor’s action comes on the recommendations of the government. Khan, a former judge of the Allahabad High Court, was appointed by the Mulayam Singh government.

 

The relationship between the government and the CIC has been far from cordial. He had often made stern observations about the government and summoned senior functionaries like the chief secretary and the cabinet secretary.

 

While holding a hearing on an application seeking information about the Ambedkar Memorial, he had commented on the amount being spent on the project. Khan also sent a notice to the Assembly Speaker on an application, seeking information on how MLAs became millionaires after winning elections. The assembly had then passed a resolution that it would summon Khan if he ever sent such a notice again.

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karira

As reported by TNN in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 10 July 2008:

CIC placed under suspension-Lucknow-Cities-The Times of India

 

CIC placed under suspension

 

LUCKNOW: Governor TV Rajeswar on Wednesday placed state's chief information commissioner (CIC) Justice (retd) Mohammad Asgar Khan under suspension after making a reference to the Supreme Court for an inquiry into complaints related to serious malpractices and irregularities against him. He is probably the first CIC in the country to have been placed under suspension.

 

In an office order issued by chief secretary Atul Kumar Gupta late on Wednesday evening, it has been stated that the governor had placed the CIC under suspension using his powers under Section 17/2 of the RTI Act. During the pendency of inquiry by the apex court, Khan has also been barred from attending the office by the governor.

 

The office order further stated that the decision was taken by the governor to ensure impartial inquiry into the alleged malpractice including irregularities committed in appointments, interference in working of the commission and functioning against the provisions of the RTI Act.

 

A senior official in the government said that under section 17/2 of the RTI Act, the governor may suspend the CIC or an information commissioner from office and, if deemed necessary, may prohibit him also from attending the office during inquiry by the apex court.

 

He said that the governor's secretariat had received a large number of complaints from individuals and various organisations against the suspended CIC. Among the complaints were Magsaysay award winner Sandeep Pandey who had alleged that Justice (retd) Khan had committed grave irregularities in appointing 58 employees in the commission under group 'C' and 'D' by violating reservation roster rules.

 

Besides, Pandey had also made complaint about purchase of an office table by the CIC office whose cost was shown as Rs 1 Lakh. Similarly, former deputy SP Shailendra Singh, who joined the Congress after tendering his resignation from the service, had made 24 complaints against the suspended CIC with governor and had demanded an inquiry under section 17/1 and suspension of CIC under section 17/2 of the RTI Act.

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bahl_ajay

Governor suspends UP CIC

tnl-governor-suspends-up-cic

AS REPORTED ON YAHOO NEWS.COM

 

Thu, Jul 10 02:18 AM

Uttar Pradesh Governor T V Rajeswar on Wednesday suspended the state's Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) M A Khan for alleged misconduct and grave irregularities in some appointments. Khan was not allowed in his office. The Governor also initiated the process for CIC's removal by making a reference to the Supreme Court for holding an inquiry into the charges against him.

Under Section 17 of the RTI Act, the CIC can be removed by the Governor for proven misbehaviour or incapacity after the Supreme Court, in an inquiry made on the Governor's reference, has found the charges true and held that he can be removed. A note, issued by the Chief Secretary's office, said there were complaints about Khan's working style, in violation of Right To Information (RTI) Act, 2005. He also interfered in the functioning of other officials of the commission. Khan could not be reached for comment.

 

Governor suspends UP CIC - Yahoo! India News

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sidmis

Nobody can harass CICs

 

says Wajahat day after UP official’s suspension

 

As reported tby Krishnadas Rajagopal, Indian Express, Friday, July 11, 2008

 

New Delhi, July 10: The suspension of Uttar Pradesh chief information commissioner M A Khan by the Governor evoked a mixed response from the apex Right to Information (RTI) panel and activists, with Chief Information Commissioner, Government of India, Wajahat Habibullah asserting on Thursday that nobody can “harass” information commissioners.

 

“There is a written process of law on how action against an information commissioner can be taken. There is no point in harassing commissioners, and nobody can stop them from completing their five-year term in office,” the topmost official in the country under the RTI Act told The Indian Express.

Khan was earlier suspended by UP Governor T V Rajeshwar—on the recommendation of the state Chief Secretary — for alleged misconduct and irregularities in appointments, and his case has been referred to the Supreme Court as per the RTI Act for inquiry.

Habibullah, however, declined to comment on Khan’s suspension and said the inquiry by the Supreme Court into the latter’s alleged misconduct is according to the letter of the law. “There is nothing objectionable to certain checks and balances in the system, but they should not lead to any harassment,” he noted.

 

Information commissioner O P Kejriwal with the Central Information Commission (CIC) revealed that he and his colleagues were often targeted with allegations, mainly from litigants. “Each of us, including Wajahat, is accused of various types of misconduct like caste bias, giving undue favours and gender discrimination. I am myself blamed of gender bias. You see, the CIC is the apex body, and it is only natural that our decision in a case being final will harm one party or the other. We cannot make everyone happy, can we?” he pointed out.

 

Kejriwal also insisted that action against Khan would set a “bad precedent” since information commissioners would now be subjected to a “spate of allegations”. The information commissioner also added that the UP incident ought to be treated as an “isolated case”.

 

Prominent RTI activist Aruna Roy, speaking from Rajasthan, called the incident “most unfortunate” if the suspension was instigated by “political motives”. “If the incident is politically shaped rather than based on genuine facts, this would amount to a gross misuse of the law,” she said.

 

Asked if an independent inquiry into the allegations against Khan should be held within the RTI framework instead of by the Supreme Court, Roy said: “The RTI Act calls for an inquiry by the Supreme Court. The choice of the institution of authority may not be perfect, but it is technically correct.”

“The probe would have smacked of malafide intent if a UP state-level functionary was in charge. But we expect a fair and objective decision from the Supreme Court,” said information commissioner M M Ansari in reaction to the issue.

 

In the meanwhile, activist Commodore (retired) Loksh Batra from Noida made no attempt to hide his pleasure over the suspension. “We are celebrating the decision of the Governor,” he said. His RTI appeal against Noida authorities seeking details about the cleaning of sewers around the residence of Moninder Singh Pandher, main accused in the Nithari murder case, was “thrown out without any explanation”.

Rocky tenure

 

Complaints against M A Khan have been building up for over a year now, notably since Mayawati came into power:

 

•June 2007: RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal and Magsaysay award winner Sandeep Pandey barged into the chief information officer’s chambers and shouted slogans raising questions over his judgments. Kejriwal alleged that Khan’s orders always went in favour of the Government and that he “misbehaved” with complainants.

 

•March 2008: The head of the Congress party’s RTI cell Shailendra Singh gave a memorandum to the Governor asking him to order an SC inquiry n May 26: Sandeep Pandey confirmed that the Governor had told them that the matter had been referred to the SC.

 

•June 30: Journalists Izhar Ahmad and Afzal Ansari claimed that they met senior officials of the Governor’s secretariat who said they had directives from the SC to forward relevant documents.

 

IndianExpress.com :: Nobody can harass CICs, says Wajahat day after UP official’s suspension

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sidmis

UP axes CIC after CBI claim of evidence to try Mayawati

 

As Reported by Kajari Bhattacharya, The Statesman, NEW DELHI/LUCKNOW, July 10

 

Hours after the CBI today told the Supreme Court that it had “sufficient” evidence to prosecute Uttar Pradesh chief minister Miss Mayawati in a disproportionate assets case registered against her five years ago, balls of retaliatory action started rolling in Lucknow.

 

In the first action of its kind taken against a state's chief information commissioner (CIC) anywhere in the country, UP Governor TV Rajeswar put UP CIC Justice (Retd) Mr MA Khan under suspension and prohibited him from attending office for alleged corruption, misconduct and irregularities in appointing employees. Justice (Retd) Mr Khan was a Mulayam Singh Yadav appointee.

 

The CBI filed an affidavit in the SC saying it will shortly file a chargesheet in a disproportionate assets case registered against the BSP supremo in 2003. It said there was ample evidence to show that Miss Mayawati had amassed wealth disproportionate to her known sources of income while responding to a notice issued to it on a petition filed by her. The UP CM was seeking quashing of criminal proceedings against her in the case which she alleged was politically motivated.

 

In Lucknow, a highly-placed source said: “We have sent a reference to the SC, which will form a committee to inquire into the allegations and then decide if Justice (Retd) MA Khan will be removed from office.” The source added: “The allegations have been confined to misconduct and irregularities in hiring employees. We do not want to level allegations of misappropriation of funds, as these undermine a Constitutional authority, which a CIC is.” He said that in spite of the fact that the CIC was not supposed to make appointments directly, Justice (Retd) allegedly Mr Khan had done so, flouting recruitment rules. “There were no advertisements, no tests.” Other information commissioners were also critical of the CIC.

 

Magsaysay awardee and RTI activist Mr Sandeep Pandey said many complaints against the CIC had been forwarded to the Governor. "The CIC was more partial to public information officers, who are government employees, and harsh with RTI applicants. Hearings are pending in thousands,” Mr Pandey alleged.

 

Justice (Retd) Mr Khan's tenure was due to end in November. The CIC was appointed in 2005, during the last days of the Mulayam Singh Yadav government in UP. The appointment was seen by many as a reward from Mr Yadav to Justice (Retd) Mr Khan, who, as an HC judge in 2003, had issued a highly-controversial ruling in an anti-defection case that helped the SP come to power the same year in the state.

 

The Statesman

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sidmis

UP information commissioner's suspension: Experts warn of precedent

 

As reported in http://mangalorean.com [iANS]

 

New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) Suspension of Uttar Pradesh's chief

information commissioner Justice (retd) M.A. Khan has been hailed by

many Right to Information (RTI) activists but some of them warn

against setting up a precedent.

 

"We need to be very careful as it should not set a precedent for

others to be removed. It could be politically motivated also," RTI

activist Aruna Roy told IANS.

 

Khan was suspended by Uttar Pradesh Governor T.V. Rajeswar July 9 who

recommended to the Supreme Court of India to initiate an inquiry

against the information commissioner.

 

Khan was accused of misconduct and lack of capability to perform his duties.

 

Right to Information Act 2005 mandates timely response to citizen

requests for government information promoting transparency and

accountability in the system.

 

"Allegations levelled against someone may or may not be true. But one

has to be very cautious and every case should be decided on its

merit," Roy said.

 

However, Magsaysay award winner and RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal

couldn't hide his happiness over Khan's suspension.

 

"Basically, this kind of incident highlights that right kind of people

are not appointed as information commissioners and RTI activists all

across the country have been facing problem due to it," Kejriwal said.

 

"This case proves that there is seriously something wrong with them.

If governments are serious about the RTI they should demonstrate by

appointing good people in a transparent manner," Kejriwal added.

 

A Noida-based RTI activist Commodore (retd) Lokesh Batra said it was

due to happen but politics should not be played around it.

 

"It was a very sad day for the RTI. However, there have been numerous

complains to the Uttar Pradesh governor against (Khan) in

implementation of the RTI act in its true spirit," Batra said.

 

"They were not even giving information pertaining to the Uttar Pradesh

state information commission itself. I had only asked for details of

the commission's budget but they simply stated that it cannot be

provided making a mockery of the act," Batra added.

 

But unlike RTI activists, commissioners of the Central Information

Commission (CIC), which is the apex body under the RTI act, chose not

to comment on the issue.

 

Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah refused to comment.

 

Information Commissioner M. M. Ansari said: "As far as procedural

aspect of the law is concerned, this matter had to go to the Supreme

Court. It is in fully accordance with the RTI law."

 

"I don't know about the case but hope that the case would be decided

fairly and objectively," Ansari added.

 

IANS

http://mangalorean.com/news.php?newstype=local&newsid=84719

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karira

As reported by IANS in news.smashits.com on 4 August 2008:

I'm being victimised by BSP government: suspended RTI chief - news.smashits.com

 

I'm being victimised by BSP government: suspended RTI chief

 

 

Lucknow, Aug 4 (IANS) M.A. Khan, Uttar Pradesh's former chief information commissioner (CIC) who was suspended last month on several charges of misconduct, says he is being victimised by the Mayawati government because he had given a pro-Samajwadi Party ruling as a high court judge three years ago.

 

Suspended by Governor T.V. Rajeswar July 9, Khan is the first chief information commissioner in the country to have been shown the door.

 

'My suspension stems from a 2005 ruling in an anti-defection case, in which I, as a high court judge, recognised the merger of 40 rebel Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislators with the Samajwadi Party,' Khan told IANS in an interview.

 

The decision had helped the ruling Samajwadi Party to continue in power, he said.

 

Mayawati, who was the then chief minister in the BSP-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition government formed in 2002, had to resign after 13 BSP legislators quit the party and formed a separate political outfit, the Loktantrik Congress.

 

Later, the 13 legislators were joined by 27 more BSP rebels and the outfit merged with the Samajwadi Party.

 

'Now, I am being victimised by the BSP government for my ruling as it went against Mayawati. The government is trying all means to implicate me falsely just to settle personal scores with me,' Khan alleged

 

After retiring from the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court in November 2005, Khan was appointed as the CIC during the last days of the Mulayam Singh Yadav government.

 

The appointment was seen by many as a 'reward' for Justice Khan, who had issued the ruling in the anti-defection case.

 

A group of social activists, including Magsaysay award winner Sandeep Pandey who is associated with the 'Save RTI campaign' have filed complaints against Khan.

 

Violating norms for recruiting employees in the commission, financial irregularities, mistreating complainants and non-cooperation with colleagues are some of the charges levelled against Khan.

 

It has been alleged that he made direct recruitments on 40 posts of class three and four employees without following the reservation norms. Khan has also been charged with financial irregularities.

 

'Social activists in one of their complaints have stated that penalties were imposed by Khan in majority of the cases when the information was not provided in the stipulated time,' an official said.

 

However, the penalty was realised only in a few cases, the official added.

 

For seeking information under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, one has to apply to the public information officer (PIO) of the particular department.

 

If the information sought is not provided in a period of 30 days, the applicant has to file an appeal with the PIO, who is to provide the desired information within 15 days.

 

However, if the information is still not provided within the desired time, the applicant can move the State Information Commission, which in turn can impose a maximum penalty of Rs.25,000 on a particular department for not providing information within the specific time.

 

Moreover, Khan has been charged with disposing off cases if the complainant failed to turn up at the scheduled time. But, on the other hand, the former CIC gave several chances to government officials to appear in connection with RTI cases.

 

Khan has also been accused of making purchases in the commission against sanction. The former CIC, who has now moved the high court against his suspension, claims that all charges against him are baseless.

 

'As far as recruitment is concerned, I have all the papers ready to prove that recruitments were made on the directions of the government only,' said Khan.

 

Likewise, charges pertaining to anomalies in realising the penalty money are also baseless, rather illogical, he said.

 

'Realising the penalty amount comes under the ambit of district administration.

 

'In cases of anomalies, although I directed the organisations concerned to pay up the fine, its recovery has to be ensured by district magistrates and other government officials,' Khan said.

 

'Do you expect a chief information commissioner to visit places for recovering the fine from the defaulters?' Khan asked

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vijendra singh

Unfortunate. I know two I.Cs are working best for RTI Act;mr . Khan & Kejriwal . Mr Khan helped the appellants in info on expenses on Ambedkar Park in Lucknow;& info on millionaire MLAs. Mayawati was annoyed on this . Secondly I.C. imposed penalty on erring PIOs. These acts of his were for the welfare of RTI Act . Hence , He is certainly VICTIMISED by the govt. It is not good at all for the nation.

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Anil Sood

I was at SIC, UP on 11-8-08 and there I came to know that the Chief information commissioner was suspended. His room was allotted to IC Shri Subhash Chandra Pandey and his name plate was also removed from the commission office. The four IC appointed by BSP Government handle all the complaints/appeals regarding govt. offices/ministries. These four commissioners were also part of the group who had complained for mistreatment by Chief Commissioner.

 

Latest on controversy is that the Governor sent the undated letter to Supreme Court of India along with other information regarding inquiry on CIC Khan's. His staff says that he forget to put the date on the letter. Confirmation from Supreme Court shows they receive the same on 11-7-08, which means he was suspended before the documents were sent to Supreme Court. (as per one local newspaper article).

 

Governor of U.P. does not have any power to suspend and order CIC Mr. Khan not to report for work till the inquiry is pending. He could only refer the matter to Supreme Court/president. Section 14 deals and empowered the President to remove/suspend the Information Commissioner/Chief Information Commissioner.

 

Section 14(1) says that Commissioner or any Information Commissioner shall be removed from his office only by order of the President on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the President, has, on inquiry, reported that the Chief Information Commissioner or any Information Commissioner, as the case may be, ought on such ground be removed.

(2) The President may suspend from office, and if deem necessary prohibit also from

attending the office during inquiry, the Chief Information Commissioner or Information

Commissioner in respect of whom a reference has been made to the Supreme Court under

sub-section (1) until the President has passed orders on receipt of the report of the Supreme Court on such reference.

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sidmis
Governor of U.P. does not have any power to suspend and order CIC Mr. Khan not to report for work till the inquiry is pending. He could only refer the matter to Supreme Court/president. Section 14 deals and empowered the President to remove/suspend the Information Commissioner/Chief Information Commissioner.

This section quoted above is for Central Information Commission. It is not applicable on State Information Commissions.

 

In case of SICs the Governor has the power to suspend. This is enumerated u/s 17(2) which reads as below.

 

The Governor may suspend from office, and if deem necessary prohibit also from attending the office during inquiry, the State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner in respect of whom a reference has been made to the Supreme Court under sub-section (1) until the Governor has passed orders on receipt of the report of the Supreme Court on such reference.

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Anil Sood

Yes, u are right.

 

Governor has suspended him before the documents were sent for inquiry to Spreme Court.

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sidmis

Notice to Uttar Pradesh chief information commissioner

as reported in ThaiIndia.com August 29th, 2008 ICT by IANS -

 

New Delhi, Aug 29 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday sought suspended Uttar Pradesh chief information commissioner’s (CIC) response to a reference by the state governor seeking his removal for making uncharitable remarks against state’s Chief Minister Mayawati and other constitutional authorities.A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice J.M. Panchal asked CIC Justice Mohammed Asgar Khan to file his reply to Governor T.V. Rajeswar’s reference within six weeks.

 

The governor had made the reference to the apex court for Justice Khan’s removal from the post of CIC. The reference was made as the CIC cannot be removed without the direction of the apex court following a probe into various allegations against him.

 

Rajeswar made the reference after suspending Justice Khan from his post July 9 as per the provisions of the state’s Right to Information Act.

 

The governor made the reference for Justice Khan’s removal also on the grounds of his alleged autocratic behaviour vis-à-vis other information commissioners in the state information commission and his various others “irregular and illegal” acts of omission and commission.

 

According to the governor’s reference, Justice Khan, a former judge of the Allahabad High Court, appointed during the tenure of Mayawati’s predecessor Mulayam Singh Yadav’s government, had at least on two occasions made “uncalled for, objectionable and derogatory remarks against the chief minister, the cabinet secretary and the chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Advisory Council”.

 

He made these remarks during the hearing of a matter, first Oct 31 and later Nov 15, 2007, said the governor’s reference, adding Justice Khan’s diatribe against the state’s chief minister and other constitutional authorities amounted to “misbehaviour and incapacity” warranting his removal.

 

The governor, in his reference, made on the basis of complaints by the government and Justice Khan’s fellow information commissioners, also alleged that the CIC would often summon the matters decided by his colleagues and invariably reverse them as if he was an appellate authority to their judgements.

 

As per yet another allegation, Justice Khan had appointed around 40 lower grade officials and workers in the commission without issuing any advertisement for their appointment and by ignoring various mandatory principles, like reservation for backward classes and Dalit candidates, in the government appointment.

 

Notice to Uttar Pradesh chief information commissioner

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jps50

TIMES OF INDIA MUMBAI EDN 30-08-08

 

 

UP info panel chief faces dismissal

 

Commissioner Accused Of Illegal Appointments, Abusing Maya

 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

 

New Delhi: UP’s first chief information commissioner (CIC) on Friday became the first such appointee in the country to receive notice from the Supreme Court on the Mayawati government’s reference under the RTI Act seeking his dismissal for making irregular appointments and rendering other commissioners non-functional.

State additional advocate general Shail Kumar Dwivedi read out the charge—40 appointments of class III/IV employees without advertising the posts, not allowing other commissioners to discharge their functions and recalling their orders acting as if he was the appellate authority.

Added to the charges was that the CIC, Justice (retd) Mohammad Asgar Khan, during a hearing of a matter relating to Lucknow Development Authority, “made undignified and derogatory remarks, in full public view, against the chief minister, the cabinet secretary, the chief secretary and the chairperson of the UP state advisory council”.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal, after hearing the additional advocate general, issued notice to the CIC and asked him to respond within six weeks.

Dwivedi said that the state government can take action against Justice Khan only after the apex court conducts an inquiry and finds the charges actionable.

The reference under Section 17 of the RTI Act was sent by governor T V Rajeshwar on July 10 to the Supreme Court. The governor is empowered under the Act to put the CIC under suspension till the apex court gave its opinion on the reference.

The reference said: “The state government has termed these allegations as serious and that they are tantamount to objectionable conduct on the part of the state CIC showing his incapacity to hold the office which he occupies.”

 

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vijendra singh

This appears to be a conspired drama against Khan. If the CM or chief secretary were causing hinderances in RTI work ; Mr Khan well did by noting remarks against those erring CM /Chief secretary etc . After all, nobody is above the law. I say firmly that all the I.Cs must take stern actions without fears against the erring govt officials/ leaders. If Khan rebuked the govt ;he deserves thanks from the citizens.

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Anil Sood

It seems to be game of musical chair being played between SP, BSP and CONG(I). Only information seekers are on the wrong side and they will suffer. How the Governor had agree to suspend the CIC Mr. Khan and forwarded the complaint to Supreme Court immediately. It is very clearly that the situation suits the government officers of UP because remaining IC are reluctant to take strict action on complaints and they are throwing the appeals/complaints without going into merit of case/complaints.

 

In my case also I was going from Delhi to Lucknow to attend the hearing and after Mr. Khan episode, my appeal was transfer to new IC Subhas Chander Pandey, appointee of BSP govt (earlier it was with Mr. R.H.V. Tripathi appointee of SP govt.) which was appointed by BSP govt. IC refuse to provide the information, he even refuses to see through the previous order passed by earlier IC and end result is that no information was provided to me even after attending the hearing on 5 occassions.

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sidmis

Court notice to U.P. Chief Information Commissioner

as reported by Legal Correspondent, The Hindu, Aug 31, 2008

 

New Delhi: Acting on a report from Uttar Pradesh Governor T.V. Rajeswar, seeking a probe into specific allegations of misbehaviour against Justice Mohd. Asgar Khan, Chief Information Commissioner, the Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to Mr. Khan seeking his response in six weeks.

 

A Bench, consisting of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices P. Sathasivam and J.M. Panchal, issued the notice after hearing Additional Advocate-General Shail Diwedi, who explained the allegations against Mr. Khan, who was also present in the court.

 

Prima facie case

On receipt of complaints, the Governor wrote to the Chief Justice stating a prima facie case existed for an inquiry into three charges under Section 17 (1) of the Right to Information Act and asking whether Mr. Khan could be removed on grounds of misbehaviour and incapacity.

 

Charges

The charges were: Mr. Khan made appointments to 40 posts in Class 3 and 4 categories without following the prescribed procedure, without conducting any examination and in flagrant violation of reservation rules; he made objectionable and derogatory remarks against Chief Minister Mayawati, the Cabinet Secretary, the Chief Secretary and the Chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Advisory Council during the hearing of a matter; and he conducted himself autocratically towards other State Information Commissioners.

 

The Hindu : National : Court notice to U.P. Chief Information Commissioner

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karira

As reported by ENS in expressindia.com on 16 November 2008:

High Court stays suspension of CIC - Express India

High Court stays suspension of CIC

 

Lucknow, November 15 The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has stayed the suspension of Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) MA Khan.

 

The order has come as an embarrassment to the Mayawati government and the Uttar Pradesh Governor, who on July 9, had not only suspended Khan but also restricted his entry into the CIC office with immediate effect.

 

A retired justice, Khan will now resume his duties from Monday. The UP Governor, TV Rajeswar, exercising his powers under Section 17 (1) and Section 17 (2) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, had suspended the CIC on July 9.

 

The suspension order came after the government complained of Khan committing administrative and financial irregularities besides misusing his powers. The Governor had forwarded the case reference to the Supreme Court. Khan had filed a writ

 

petition at the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court challenging his suspension order. Representing Khan before a Bench comprising Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Abhinav Upadhyay on July 31, former advocate general SMA Kazmi had challenged the constitutional vailidity of the RTI sections used by the Governor.

 

On Saturday again, arguing on Khan’s case, Kazmi referring to Section 17 (1) of the RTI Act, said the suspension order was passed on July 9 whereas the Supreme Court received the reference on July 10. “The reference claimed that an inquiry was pending against Khan whereas at that time no inquiry was pending against my client,” said Kazmi.

 

“How could the suspension precede the reference whereas legally any action should have followed the reference,” Kazmi argued.

 

Kazmi also questioned Section 17 (2) of the RTI Act, which he argued, has given unbridled powers to the Governor, and which, he said, can be used “unscrupulously or under any misguided motivation”.

 

On behalf of the state government, Additional Advocate General Jaideep Narain Mathur, however, strongly opposed the argument.

 

While raising preliminary objections on the petition, Mathur had said under Article 361 of the Constitution, any action, decision or order passed by the Governor cannot be questioned in any court.

 

Hearing the arguments of both the parties, the Bench comprising Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Ved Pal, stayed the suspension of Khan and asked the state government to file its reply in due time. Khan, meanwhile, said, “Justice is done and the order underlines that no one is above law.”

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vijendra singh

I wrote already in my earlier post that Khan was innocent, vigilant , diligent . & he was made prey malafidely by BSP govt as well as the Governor. Now truth has come out. Proved now very clearly . Mr Khan delivered RTI decisions exellently. & therefore the govt was badly against the Justice. .

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karira

If there are "political appointees" there will be "political vendetta"

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karira

As reported by TNN in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 18 November 2008:

After HC reprieve, CIC goes on leave-Lucknow-Cities-The Times of India

 

After HC reprieve, CIC goes on leave

 

LUCKNOW: After joining office barely for an hour following the Allahabad High Court’s stay order on his suspension, chief information

 

commissioner (CIC) Justice MA Khan proceeded on leave on Monday evening. With barely ten left days left for his superannuation, Justice Khan admitted that he chose "peace over every thing else".

 

Talking to TOI, Justice Khan said that he was due to retire on November 30. "November 28 is Friday and November 30 falls on Sunday, so practically my term comes to end on November 28." This, Khan said, was one of the reasons why he decided to apply for ten days leave, and added there, however, was yet another reason for the move. "I do not want to annoy people unnecessarily and give them a chance to point an accusing finger later on, specially as nearly all cases pending before me are against UP government."

 

Warming up to the theme, the CIC, who had accused the government of witch-hunting after his suspension on July 9, alleged that he had already borne the wrath for having raised queries on the BSP dream project — the Ambedkar Park.

 

"All I did then was to seek details about the alleged expenditure of Rs 1,600 crore from state exchequer over the park, and next I knew, they had placed me under suspension," he said, adding "now, majority of the cases before the CIC are pertaining to irregularities in the Lucknow Development Authority (LDA).

My words and action could easily be misconstrued." Justice Khan said that he could easily be accused of acting in a prejudiced manner for obvious reason, therefore, he thought it best to stay back till the last working day and not give anyone an occasion to start a fresh controversy.

 

He was placed under suspension on July 9 by governor TV Rajeswar on charges of departmental irregularities and misappropriation.

 

Among other things his suspension order, passed along with a restraint order, categorically prohibited Khan’s entry on the premises of the RTI office in Jawahar Bhawan. It took him four months and a protracted legal battle to set foot into the building."My stand", said Khan, "has been vindicated and now I am looking forward to spending a peaceful time with my family." The hearing on the issue before the Supreme Court comes up on Tuesday.

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karira

As reported in indlawnews.com on 18 November 2008:

IndlawNews

 

SC: UP Chief Information Commissioner will continue to remain Suspended

 

The Supreme Court ruled that Uttar Pradesh Chief Information Commissioner(CIC) M A Khan will continue to remain suspended.

 

Mr Khan was suspended by the Mayawati government for alleged irregularities in the recruitment made by him but the action was stayed by the Allahabad High Court.

 

A bench comprising Justices B N Aggarwal and G S Singhvi passed the interim order, staying the High Court order, which means that Mr Khan will remain under suspension.

 

The Uttar Pradesh government had come in appeal against the High Court order which had stayed the directive of the state Governor T V Rajeshwar suspending M A Khan.

 

S H A Kazmi, senior counsel appearing for UP government, submitted before the court that the High Court was not competent to hear the petition filed by M A Khan against his suspension as only the Supreme Court is competent to hear the reference made by either the President of India or the Governor of a state.

 

The apex court also ordered the transfer of the petition pending in High Court to the Supreme Court.

 

Earlier, Mr Khan had criticised the state Chief Minister Mayawati at a function publicly.

 

Mr Khan as CIC had also entertained some petitions under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking information regarding the benefits given by the former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Mulayam Singh Yadav from the Chief Minister’s discretionary fund/quota.

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sidmis

SC to ex-judges: Keep dignity intact

as reported by Dhananjay Mahapatra,Times of India, TNN 18 Nov 2008

 

NEW DELHI: Retired judges of High Courts and the Supreme Court, rehabilitated with post-retirement assignments by governments, got a terse message from the Supreme Court on Tuesday: "Keep your dignity intact and quit immediately if slighted by the ruling class after a change of regime."

 

Reflecting on the recent clamour for post-retirement employment as chairperson of various commissions in the state and central level, a Bench comprising Justices B N Agrawal and G S Singhvi said in anguish that this had led to politicisation of important posts, even that of Lokayuktas.

 

It gave the example of Justice K Venkataswami, without taking his name, and recalled how he had immediately resigned as chairperson of the commission inquiring into Tehelka expose on defence deals after a controversy over his holding another post — chairperson of Authority for Advance Rulings (Customs and Central Excise) — was raised in Parliament by Congress.

 

"When a judge is involved in a serious assignment, he should just resign and go out gracefully when the writing is on the wall," said the Bench, which commented adversely on the apparent lack of grace in Justice Mohd Ashgar Khan, a retired judge of Allahabad HC, for trying to hold on to the post of UP state chief information commissioner despite the governor suspending him for misconduct and sending a reference to the apex court for an inquiry.

 

It virtually reversed an Allahabad HC order staying the governor's order suspending Justice Khan and transferred his writ petition to the Supreme Court after senior advocate Harish Salve and UP additional advocate general Shail Kumar Dwivedi argued that it was improper on the part of the former CIC to have approached the HC at a time when a reference was pending in SC.

 

When senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi tried to justify the course of action taken by Justice Khan, the Bench said it was surprised by the anxiety shown by the the retired judge to stick on to the post. "Maintain grace of a judicial officer. Why are you so anxious," the Bench asked.

 

"Propriety demands that he should have moved the Supreme Court when a reference was pending against him there," the Bench said. Its anguish was palpable as it observed, "It is unfortunate that such important posts have become political appointments."

 

 

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/rssarticleshow/msid-3729645,prtpage-1.cms

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karira

As reported in indianexpress.com on 15 June 2012:

Former CIC commits suicide - Indian Express

 

Former CIC commits suicide

 

 

Former UP Chief Information Commissioner(CIC) and Allahabad High Court judge M A Khan committed suicide by jumping from his apartment early on Thursday.

Khan jumped from his fourth floor house at Awadh Apartment in Gomti Nagar police station area while his family members were asleep, the police said.

Khan, 69, was under treatment for depression for more than a year, said his family members.

His wife Shams Jahan Begum said Khan, along with her and servant Sandeep, had slept in the bedroom in the night but in the morning she was informed by their neighbours about Khan having jumped off the building. Begum said she had last seen Khan in his bed around 3 am when she had woken up.

She said Khan had consumed sleeping pills in keeping with the medication for his treatment. Begum said Khan’s depression had become intense recently and the family had to watch him constantly. Last night, however, she and Sandeep, who slept on the floor besides their bed, did not notice when Khan went out of the bedroom, she said. He was scheduled to go to Bangalore for treatment Thursday.

Begum also added that Khan used to become oblivious after consuming sleeping pills and could have fainted while standing on the balcony and fallen down.

Additional Superintendent of Police (Trans-Gomti) Ram Bahadur Yadav, too, said it was not clear whether Khan jumped off the building or fell down after fainting while standing on the balcony.

Begum said Khan had become more depressed after the death of their son Kishwar in October last year due to liver ailments. Khan is survived by his wife and three children — Anwar, Munawwar and Heena. Khan’s body was taken to their native place in Saharanpur in the evening for last rites.

Khan, a law graduate, was elevated as permanent judge of the Allahabad High Court in 1999 after seven years of working as a district judge. He retired from the high court in November, 2005.

 

Later, he was appointed CIC by then Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav.

He likened Ambedkar memorial to Taj Mahal, earned Maya wrath

As UP’s Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), M A Khan made news twice.

First, when he referred to the Ambedkar memorial as another Taj Mahal, which annoyed the then BSP government, headed by Chief Minister Mayawati.

The second time when he was suspended by the then Governor TV Rajeshwar in July 2008, after receiving complaints of misconduct, and the process of his removal was initiated by making a reference to the Supreme Court for holding an inquiry into the charges.

Khan’s lawyer in the Supreme Court Wasim Qadri said the matter is still pending. Commission sources said his salary of the suspension period was still due.

Khan took over as CIC on March 22, 2006.

RTI activist Izhar Ansari recalled that as CIC, Khan was known for his witty remarks. “It was a typical Lucknowi style of commenting on the situation. Some of the remarks often led to laughter, but some people took them seriously’’, said Ansari.

Shailendra Singh, another RTI activist, said that during a hearing on his application regarding the money spent on the Ambedkar memorial, Khan had likened it to Taj Mahal, which irked the government.

Incidentally, Singh lives in the same building where Khan lived and was the first to see the body in the morning. “I was going for morning walk and saw his body. I informed the police,” he said.

The charges against Khan were that he made appointments in the commission without following the prescribed procedure, without conducting any examination and in violation of reservation rules, and that he made derogatory remarks against Mayawati, the then Cabinet Secretary, and the then Chief Secretary during the hearing of a matter, and that he conducted himself autocratically towards other State Information Commissioners.

Khan moved the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court which stayed his suspension on November 15, 2008. The very next day, Khan joined office and submitted his resignation. But the state government, instead of accepting his resignation, appealed in the Supreme Court against the court order. The Supreme Court stayed the order, declaring Khan will remain under suspension. Qadri said Khan was due to retire on November 30, 2008, at the age of 65 but, technically, he remained under suspension.

 

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      By karira
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