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karira

As reported in expressbuzz.com on 06 Dec 2011:

HC: Appoint information commissioners soon | AP high court | | The New Indian Express

 

HC: Appoint information commissioners soon

 

 

HYDERABAD: In a landmark judgement by the AP High Court over a petition filed by RTI activist G Bhargavi, the state government has been ordered to appoint commissioners to the State Information Commission within four weeks.

 

Talking on behalf of the petitioner, her counsel advocate DB Rao said the petition was filed on December 1 and the court understood the urgency to fill the posts which have been lying vacant since November 17, 2010.

 

“The office of the Chief Information Commission is a multi-member body but for the past one year it has been operating with just one chief information commissioner.

 

This has lead to an increased number of pending cases,” said Rao. Interestingly, the High Courts of Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Uttaranchal had already passed judgements in the past one year seeking immediate appointment of information commissioners in the respective states.

 

But while this helped create a ripple effect with even Rajasthan filling the vacant posts, the AP government decided to sleep on the issue. “Bhargavi had earlier requested the chief minister, special chief secretary as well as the governor for the same but everyone had some excuse or other to avoid the appointment procedure,” added Rao. He also mentioned in wake of the noconfidence motion being passed in the Parliament, there was a provision for the existing governor to appoint the required information commissioners with recommendation from the chief secretary.

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karira

As reported in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 07 Jan 2012:

State dragging its feet on information commissioners - The Times of India

 

State dragging its feet on information commissioners

 

 

HYDERABAD: Last month, the state government had committed to the high court that it would appoint information commissioners for the AP Information Commission within a month. A month later, however, the government has failed to keep its word. The commission's three information commissioners had retired on November 17, 2011, following which the posts have been lying vacant. At least 10 commissioners can be assigned to the body as per the RTI Act.

 

On December 5, when a case pertaining to delay in the appointment of information commissioners had come up for hearing, the advocate general on behalf of the government had given an oral commitment that the appointments would be completed within four weeks upon which the case was adjourned to January 23. But the state government has so far not made any progress in this regard nor has it filed a counter affidavit.

 

Advocate D B Rao who had filed this case on behalf of RTI activist G Bhargavi said, "The government had admitted its mistake and had informed that they were in the process of appointing information commissioners but they have not done it so far." Rao said that the information commission in the state has been "void and illegal" for more than a year now as per section 15 (2) of RTI Act.

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karira

As reported in The Times of India, Hyderabad Edition, on 07 Jan 2012:

Article Window

 

State dragging its feet on information commissioners

 

 

Hyderabad: Last month, the state government had committed to the high court that it would appoint information commissioners for the AP Information Commission within a month. A month later, however, the government has failed to keep its word. The commission’s three information commissioners had retired on November 17, 2011, following which the posts have been lying vacant. At least 10 commissioners can be assigned to the body as per the RTI Act. On December 5, when a case pertaining to delay in the appointment of information commissioners had come up for hearing, the advocate general on behalf of the government had given an oral commitment that the appointments would be completed within four weeks upon which the case was adjourned to January 23. But the state government has so far not made any progress in this regard nor has it filed a counter affidavit. Advocate D B Rao who had filed this case on behalf of RTI activist G Bhargavi said, “The government had admitted its mistake and had informed that they were in the process of appointing information commissioners but they have not done it so far.” Rao said that the information commission in the state has been “void and illegal” for more than a year now as per section 15 (2) of RTI Act. ‘Delay in appointment to official posts undermining RTI Act’

 

According to the RTI act, the commission should only function if it has a chief information commissioner and at least one information commissioner. “Even other state high courts had given a verdict on this matter and information commissioners were appointed immediately. I hope at least now the government acts fast on the appointments to make the commission legal” he said.

 

The appointments for these posts are undertaken by the chief minister, leader of opposition and a cabinet minister of the government.

 

The government’s indifference towards the commission has RTI activists see red. C J Karira, RTI activist, said that the government was killing the RTI Act’s implementation by delaying the appointments. He says that the absence of commissioners would discourage applicants and activists from filing RTI queries and could even lead to laxity among the public information officers. He alleged that the chief minister was busy getting his political act right to focus on this important matter.

 

The post of the information commissioner, considered to be a political appointment, is of the chief secretary rank. Currently, there is heavy lobbying for these posts from various quarters which has led to further delay in the appointments. The commission has about 11,000 cases pending for disposal.

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karira

As reported in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 30 Jan 2012:

Article Window

 

Five likely to make it as ICs

 

Thanks to the intervention of the AP High Court, the long-awaited appointment of information commissioners will see the daylight in the coming days. The CM garu is slated to meet with opposition leader Chandrababu Naidu on Tuesday and finalise the appointments. The grapevine has it that five information commissioners will be appointed to assist chief information commissioner Jannat Hussain and that they would comprise one retired IAS officer, one retired IPS officer, a retired judge, and one person each from the fields of social work and journalism respectively. Imtiaz Ahmed, a district judge from Chittoor district who quit service is likely to make it from the judge’s quota due to his proximity to Kiran Kumar Reddy. From the retired all-India service category, the names of R M Gonela (IAS) and former Cyberabad commissioner S Prabhakar Reddy are in the reckoning. The CM garu is yet to close in on the names of a journalist and a personality from the world of social work.

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karira

As per reports, the following 8 Info Commissioners have been appointed in the APSIC:

 

Prabhakar Reddy, IPS - ex police Commissioner Cyberabad

M Ratan, IPS - DG Enforcement and Vigilance

Judge Imtiaz Ahmed - Resigned as District Judge, Chitoor

Madhukar Raj, IFS, Chief Conservator of Forests, AP (He also applied for post of IUC in the CIC)

Vijay Babu - Editor Andhra Prabha

V Venkateshwarlu - Social Worker

Lamu Tantiya Kumari - Politician, Daughter of ex Congress Minister Koneru Ranga Rao

M Vijaya Nirmala - Politician, Prajya Rajyam Party activist Krishna District

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Sajib Nandi

As reported by Ibnlive.in.com on Jan 31, 2012

AP govt appoints eight Information Commissioners, IBN Live News

 

 

Hyderabad, Jan 31 (PTI) The Andhra Pradesh government tonight appointed eight Information Commissioners under the Right to Information Act (RTI) after keeping the posts vacant for more than 14 months. Surprisingly, the government chose a serving IPS officer for one of the IC posts while two other retired bureaucrats too were appointed. A meeting of the selection committee comprising Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, Deputy CM C Damodar Rajanarasimha and Leader of Opposition N Chandrababu Naidu "unanimously" approved the names of eight candidates for the IC posts, an official press release said. Subsequently, Governor E S L Narasimhan issued a notification appointing the eight Information Commissioners, it added. Those appointed as ICs are: C Madhukar Raj, IFS (Retd), S Prabhakar Reddy, IPS (Retd), P Vijaya Babu, Editor of Andhra Prabha Telugu daily, Varre Venkateswarlu, social worker, Lam Tantiya Kumari, advocate (daughter of former deputy chief minister Koneru Ranga Rao), S Imtiaz Ahmed, retired civil judge, M Vijaya Nirmala, academician and M Ratan, currently Director General of Police (Vigilance and Enforcement). Ratan is due for retirement from service at the end of April this year. Following his appointment as IC, Ratan is expected to seek voluntary retirement, government sources said. The IPS officer was chosen for the IC post as he belonged to the Backward Community from the Telangana region, they said.

 

 

RTI activists term appointments as 'political'

 

As reported by Timesofindia.indiatimes.com on Feb 1, 2012

RTI activists term appointments as 'political' - The Times of India

 

 

HYDERABAD: City-based RTI activists were most critical of the new appointments and said the selection process lacked transparency and was based on political equations.

 

C J Karira, noted RTI activist said "The appointments were done in a very opaque manner as no prior announcement was made related to it. There is no clarity on the selection process and on what basis the new commissioners were shortlisted. Also, the government did not call for applications for these posts."

 

He said the list only reflected the balancing act of the government to keep different sections happy. He also expressed disappointment that selected commissioners hardly had any experience in RTI which will only affect the pendency of the cases.

 

P Ramakrishna, another city-based RTI activist felt that appointment of civil servants as commissioners made no sense as most of the RTI queries and complaints were on them. "It would have been better if the commissioners were chosen from civil society, RTI activists or normal citizens," he said, describing the appointments as purely political.

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karira

As reported in deccanchronicle.com on 31 Jan 2012:

CM

 

CM’s men on board IC

 

A high-level committee headed by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy on Tuesday appointed eight Information Commissioners. The Chief Minister managed to pick a majority of the nominees of his choice after he successfully managed to bring consensus among the two other committee members, Leader of Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu and Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Raja Narasimha by accommodating one member each of their choice in the commission.

 

The new information commissioners are; additional director general of police M. Ratan, former Cyberabad police commissioner S. Prabhakar Reddy, former judge Imtiaz Ahmed, retired principal chief conservator of forests Madhukar Raj, editor of a vernacular daily P. Vijayababu, educationist S. Vijayanirmala, former Congress ZPTC member L. Tantiya Kumari and advocate and Congress activist V. Venkateswarlu.

 

In appointing the new Information Commissio-ners, the selection panel has maintained the regional and caste equilibrium besides giving priority to Congress leaders. The selection panel, in finalising the names, also laid emphasis on the high educational qualifications of the wannabe commissioners.

 

The Chief Minister also directed the officials to obtain an affidavit from all the commissioners giving an undertaking that they would not involve themselves in any other activity, be it politics or business. Mr Ratan is the only serving officer who made it to the commission and he would be appointed on quitting the service. He is due for retirement in April.

 

While the term of commissioners is five years two of them -- Mr Prabhakar Reddy and Mr Madhukar Raju -- will have premature exit as they will attain the age of 65 before end of their five year term.

 

The meeting, which lasted for about an hour, was held in a cordial atmosphere much to the relief of the government. Earlier, the meeting began with Mr Naidu seeking to know whether the government already made the selection or it wanted to discuss. The Chief Minister said the appointments would be through consensus and read out the bio-data of applicants for the committee members to deliberate.

 

When Mr Imtiaz Ahmed’s name cropped up, Mr Naidu pointed out that the candidate was in politics for past one decade and contested against Chief Minister. Mr Kiran Kumar Reddy laughed it off. The commission will have new office at APTS premises in BRK Bhavan.

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karira

As reported in thehindu.com on 01 Feb 2012:

The Hindu : NATIONAL / ANDHRA PRADESH : Three from Krishna appointed information commissioners

 

Three from Krishna appointed information commissioners

 

Three persons who belong to Krishna district have been appointed Information Commissioners under Right to Information Act by the State Government.

 

Lam Tantya Kumari Former ZPTC member and daughter of the late Deputy Chief Minister Koneru Ranga Rao, Muthamsetti Vijaya Nirmala, Chairman, Nova Education Society, Nuzvid, and P. Vijaya Babu, Andhra Prabha Editor have been appointed RTI Information Commissioners.

 

Ms. Tantya Kumari was ZPTC members from Kankipadu and Tiruvuru and an aspirant for the Congress party ticket for the Tiruvuru Assembly constituency. Ms. Vijaya Nirmala was the PRP candidate for Nuzvid Assembly constituency and was defeated by the TDP candidate. Mr. Vijaya Babu did his education in Vijayawada and worked all over the state after taking up journalism as profession.

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karira

As reported in thehindu.com on 01 Feb 2012:

The Hindu : NATIONAL / ANDHRA PRADESH : 3 defeated candidates among Info Commissioners

 

3 defeated candidates among Info Commissioners

 

Thantiya is daughter of former Deputy CM Koneru Ranga Rao

 

Among the eight new Information Commissioners selected under the Right to Information Act, there are three who unsuccessfully contested the Assembly elections on Congress, Telugu Desam and Praja Rajyam ticket, though all of them are now in the ruling party.

 

Prominent among them is S. Imtiaz Ahmed, who contested against Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy from Pileru constituency in Chittoor district on TDP ticket. A former senior Civil Judge, he joined the Congress subsequently and has reaped the reward on Tuesday.

 

L. Thantiya Kumari is the daughter of former Deputy Chief Minister Koneru Ranga Rao and was the Congress candidate in 2009 elections from Tiruvuru Assembly constituency in Krishna district. She was reportedly backed by former Special Representative of the A.P. government Mallu Ravi.

 

Similarly, M. Vijaya Nirmala, another Commissioner is the spouse of a person running the Nova group of educational institutions in Krishna district. Ms. Nirmala's husband M. Krishna Rao is brother of Praja Rajyam MLA from Bhimli M. Srinivasa Rao. She had contested the 2009 Assembly elections from Nuzvid constituency in Krishna district. She was also the PR district convenor of Krishna.

 

Former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests C. Madhukar Raj, who belongs to the SC community is a native of West Godavari district and a B.Sc (honours) graduate. S. Prabhakar Reddy, former Cyberabad police commissioner, hails from Medak district while P. Vijaya Babu, Editor of Andhra Prabha, is a post-graduate in Political Science. He hails from the Kapu community and is native of Krishna district.

 

Varre Venkateswarulu is a management graduate and a post-graduate in law. He is founder president of Centre for Sustainable Development. Belonging to the Yadava community, Mr. Venkateswarulu hails from Nalgonda district. Director General (vigilance and enforcement) M. Ratan belongs to the BC community and is a native of Warangal district.

 

All these names will be forwarded to the Governor for his approval.

 

30hykvw01-Commissio_909796e.jpg

 

C Madhukar Raj

 

 

 

30hykvw01-Commissio_909671b.jpg

 

Prabhakar Reddy

 

 

30hykvw01-Commissio_909674b.jpg

 

P Vijaya Babu

 

 

 

30hykvw01-Commissio_909672b.jpg

 

M Ratan

 

 

 

30hykvw01-Commissio_909673b.jpg

 

Tantiya Kumari

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karira

As reported in thehindu.com on 01 Feb 2012:

The Hindu : Today's Paper News : RTI activists angry with State

 

RTI activists angry with State

 

The government has appointed eight Information Commissioners after a Committee for their selection comprising Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, Deputy Chief Minister C. Damodara Rajanarsimha and Leader of the Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu cleared their names.

 

They include bureaucrats -- a serving IPS officer M. Ratan, former Commissioner of Police, Cyberabad, S. Prabhakar Reddy and former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests C. Madhukar Raj. Four others -- S. Imtiaz Ahmed, Lam Tantiya Kumari, M. Vijaya Nirmala and Varre Venkateswarlu, have either political affiliations or were believed to have been recommended by politicians, while P. Vijaya Babu is the editor, Andhra Prabha .

 

The Committee met for about 45 minutes and “unanimously” selected the eight members after Mr. Naidu drove into the Secretariat in a rare gesture. It is understood that as many as 32 applications were received out of which eight names were finalised.

 

But RTI activists picked holes in the selection and termed it as highly disappointing considering the background of some of them.

 

‘Rehabilitation centre'

 

“It has been converted into yet another rehabilitation centre for politicians and retired bureaucrats, some of whom do not even know how to file RTI application,” said D. Rakesh Kumar, RTI activist.

 

Mr. Rakesh Kumar said the RTI campaigners had been opposing appointment of retired bureaucrats on the ground that they were part of the system till the other day and would never appreciate the spirit behind RTI. They also sought barring politicians given their leanings.

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karira

As reported by R Prithviraj in expressbuzz.com on 02 Feb 2012:

http://expressbuzz.com/states/andhrapradesh/APIC-nominations-in-governor?s-court/359355.html

 

APIC nominations in governor’s court

 

HYDERABAD: Irked by the way in which information commissioners have been appointed to the AP Information Commission (APIC) in “violation of guidelines,” Right to Information (RTI) activists are planning to take legal recourse for remedy.

 

V V Rao, convenor of the Social Audit Council on Information Rights, said his organisation will go to court if governor E S L Narasimhan approves the names referred to him by the government.\ The question remains whether the guv will do so at all. Sources said he has not yet seen the file. On an earlier occasion, Narasimhan had shot down a recommendation from the government to appoint a former information commissioner to the AP Administrative Tribunal citing nonadherence to rules. RTI activists are demanding to know the procedure adopted in selecting the nominees.

 

Asks Rao: “We need quality persons in the State Information Commission.

 

How else can the 10,000 pending cases be disposed of?” Section 15.6 of the RTI Act 2005 states: ‘’The State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner shall not be a Member of Parliament or Member of the Legislature of any state or union territory or hold any office of profit or be connected with any political party or carrying on any business or pursuing any profession.” But four of the information commissioners appointed have a political background.

 

One of them, M Vijaya Nirmala contested and lost the Nuzvid Assembly seat in Krishna district on a PRP ticket in 2009. She is also related to Avanti Srinivasa Rao, PRP MLA from Bheemunipatnam. Her party boss Chiranjeevi is said to have been keen that she be appointed as information commissioner. Similarly, Tantia Kumari, daughter of the late Koneru Ranga Rao, has been active in Congress, having been a ZPTC member and a ticket-seeker in the 2009 election. Then there is Imtiaz Ahmed who has been accommodated in the commission on the basis of being a retired civil judge.

 

But after demitting office in 2004, he joined the TDP and contested an election against chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy in 2004 and 2009 and lost both times. He recently joined the Congress and has been rewarded with the post of information commissioner. Nalgonda lawyer V Venkateswarlu has been described as a social activist but the fact remains that he has an NSUI and Youth Congress background. Then there are two retired and one serving civil services officers who have been taken as information commissioners though appointment of such officers might lead to conflict of interest when anyone seeks information from a department that they had headed.

 

Madhukar Raj, an Indian Forest Service officer, worked as principal chief conservator of forests while S Prabjakar Reddy, an IPS officer, worked as the Cyberabad Police Commissioner. M Ratan, who is now director-general, vigilance & enforcement, is due to retire in April.

 

RTI activist C J Karira said there has been no transparency in the appointments.

 

Nor will they lead to timely disposal of cases. “What is the point of selecting those who have a political background or bureaucrats? There’s surely going to be a conflict of interest and destroy the purpose of the Act”, he said. Karira added that appointment of political persons and IPS officers was in direct contradiction to Section 15.5 and 15.6 of the RTI Act. “Even the appointment of social worker V Venkateswarlu is surprising since none of the activist groups we are in touch with have even heard of him.” Y P Ramakrishna, president of It’s Time to Make a Difference, says: “Fourteen eminent applicants, who were well versed with RTI and had no political leanings, had applied for the post of ICs.

 

But none of them was considered. Instead women like Lamu Tantiya Kumari, whose son is being accused of playing a part in the Ayesha murder case, and Prabhakar Reddy, a former police Commissioner of Cyberabad who during his tenure failed to reply to even one RTI query directed at his office have been appointed.

 

We demand to know the criteria by which the present lot were selected.” Chief information commissioner Jannat Hussain, however, welcomed the appointments and hoped that it would help improve transparency and speedy disposal of cases pending at the State Information Commission. “We wish to reduce the waiting period from two years to three months within the next six months, once the new IC’s take charge.”

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karira

As reported in thehindu.com on 02 Feb 2012:

The Hindu : NATIONAL / ANDHRA PRADESH : Yerran cries foul over appointment of Information Commissioners

 

Yerran cries foul over appointment of Information Commissioners

 

Telugu Desam Party Polit Bureau member Kinjarapu Yerran Naidu on Wednesday described the Government's exercise to appoint the Information Commissioners as an act of “political rehabilitation” and said that people with no morals were appointed in the coveted posts.

 

Speaking at a party meeting near Kummaripalem, Mr. Naidu said that he was expressing his opinion as he was present in Parliament when the Right for Information (RTI) Bill was made into an Act.

 

“The posts were literally handed over to persons who had political leanings with ruling party and who were part of the bureaucratic system. The entire exercise was like nominating people for a government body,” he felt.

 

Commenting on the Supreme Court observation on 2G case, Mr. Naidu said that despite the apex court finding fault with the PMO, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not resign.

 

“The country lost more than Rs.1 lakh crore owing to the indifferent attitude of the Prime Minister in the allocation of 2G licences. Even in the case of late State chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, we, the Telugu Desam Party, presented the documentary evidence of violation by the Obulapuram Mining Company, but no action was taken,” he said.

 

Mr. Naidu said that the country was being run not by the Prime Minister but by All India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi.

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karira

As reported by B Krishna Prasad in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 03 Feb 2012:

Governor unhappy with CM’s choice - The Times of India

 

Governor unhappy with CM’s choice

 

HYDERABAD: Governor ESL Narasimhan has withheld his assent on the files pertaining to the appointment of eight information commissioners as the Congress high command has advised him to do so, highly-placed sources said.

 

Chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy had, in the presence of deputy chief minister Damodar Raja Narasimha and opposition leader N Chandrababu Naidu, two days ago cleared the names of Imtiyaz Ahmed (retired district judge), M Ratan (serving IPS officer), M Prabhakar Reddy (former Cyberabad police commissioner), L Tantia Kumari, M Vijaya Nirmala, Varre Venkeshwarlu (social workers), P Vijaya Babu (senior journalist) and C Madhukar Raj (former forest service officer) for appointment to these posts.

 

Even as the Congress high command expressed its displeasure over the choice of nominees, RTI activists threatened an agitation over what they describe as political appointments.

 

The Congress high command has reportedly summoned the CM to New Delhi to explain the rationale behind accommodating candidates of opposition leader Naidu and Congress leader Chiranjeevi without keeping in mind the interests of the RTI act.

 

Sources said that AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel spoke to the CM and informed him that 'Madam' was not happy with the controversy. Such being the case, a top Congress high command functionary telephoned the Governor and requested him to put on hold his approval to the appointments.

 

As per Section 15.6 of the RTI Act, 2005: "The State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner shall not be a member of Parliament or member of the legislature of any state or union territory or hold any office of profit or be connected with any political party or be carrying on any business or pursuing any profession."

 

But four of those selected by the committee either have political affiliations or pursue some profession or hold an office of profit.

 

Muttamsetti Vijaya Nirmala owns a private educational institute and ran as the Praja Rajyam candidate in the 2009 elections from Nuzivudu constituency. Another nominee, Lam Tantia Kumari, is a Congress ZPTC in Krishna district and contested on a Congress ticket in 2009. Her family found itself in trouble following the Ayesh Begum murder in 2008.

 

Varre Venkateshwarlu is an active Congress politician and presently holds a PCC post. Although he was selected in the social work category, he is more well-known as a Congress face.

 

Imtiyaz Ahmad had contested against Kiran Kumar Reddy on a TDP ticket from Pileru. He later joined Congress and has now been rewarded with the information commissioner's post.

 

As regards M Ratan, he is a serving additional director general who has not resigned his post.

 

He has to submit his resignation which has to be approved by the government.

 

His wife, too, is an IAS officer and that might lead to a conflict of interest with his role as information commissioner. After going through all the information, the Governor expressed his displeasure and is learnt to have decided against giving his assent to the appointments. But he is waiting to see how the CM defends the nominees before the Congress high command. According to sources close to him, he is all set to return the file with his observations in a couple of days.

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karira

As reported in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 03 Feb 2012:

RTI activists slam nominations of info commissioners - The Times of India

 

RTI activists slam nominations of info commissioners

 

 

The government's move to project itself as champion of RTI Act by appointing an unexpected eight information commissioners has backfired with protests against the appointments gaining momentum on Thursday. More than 50 civil society organizations joined hands on this issue.

 

The members of the organizations as well as individual RTI activists are now up in arms and are calling the appointments illegal.

 

"It is a blatant violation of the RTI Act as most of the candidates selected for the key roles have direct political affiliation," said Chelikani Rao of Federation of AP Senior Citizens Organizations (FAPSCO). He also expressed his unhappiness over the manner in which the selection process was done.

 

Activists are planning to intensify protests by involving organizations from across the state if the government does not agree to their demand that the appointments be reconsidered.

 

Activists are mainly against the appointment of five commissioners -- L Tantia Kumari, M Vijaya Nirmala, V Venkateswarlu, M Ratan and Imtiyaz Ahmad whose background violates the spirit of the RTI Act.

 

"It is surprising that even leader of the opposition N Chandrababu Naidu has endorsed the appointments. It is nothing but sharing of spoils by political parties," Chelikani Rao said.

 

M Padmanabha Reddy, secretary, Forum For Good Governance, said the appointment of M Ratan, an IPS officer who is still serving in the vigilance and enforcement department, is a clear violation as under the Act anyone holding an office of profit cannot be considered for such a role.

 

Activists now plan to meet the chief minister and the governor in this regard to put pressure on them to revise the list and threaten to launch protests, and even plan legal action if the government fails to relent.

 

S Srinivass Reddy of APSA (Association of Promotion of Social Activities) said, "We are garnering support from across the state and are expecting 150 more civil society organizations to join the cause. We will take this campaign to the public and also involve them."

 

Activists plan to run signature campaigns, satyagraha movements, protest meets, cultural protests and have also decided not to cooperate with the newly-appointed commissioners by not attending any future meetings of the commission.

 

V Lakshmana Reddy of Jana Chaitanya Vedika further informed that they were planning to knock on the doors of Central Information Commission, Delhi on the matter and also meet national-level representatives of political parties to get their support.

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munirathnam

Will these appoint ments works ....? does these people have the required qualification? ...I am shaking with htese appointments.

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Sajib Nandi

As reported by Ibnlive.in.com on Feb 03, 2012

Appoint district-level RTI officers - southindia - Andhra Pradesh - ibnlive

 

HYDERABAD: With the state government appointing eight new Information Commissioners, the call has now grown loud for appointing district-level RTI officers. This will enable people from far flung districts to make full use of the RTI Act without worrying about travelling to Hyderabad to file appeals with the Information Commission, said Dilip Kahasty, Manakosam RTI Society.

 

V Srinivasa Rao, general secretary of the society also took the opportunity to applaud the appointments of the eight ICs, but threw in a word of caution that filling the posts with persons having political background would do little good.

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karira

As reported in thehindu.com on 03 Feb 2012:

The Hindu : Today's Paper / NATIONAL : Governor urged not to approve list of info commissioners

 

Governor urged not to approve list of info commissioners

 

‘Recommendations violate provisions of the RTI Act'

 

The Forum for Good Governance, headed by former High Court Judge Redappa Reddy has urged Governor E. S. L. Narasimhan not to approve the list of Information Commissioners as the recommendations violated the provisions of the Right to Information Act.

 

In a representation to the Governor, secretary of Forum for Good Governance M. Padmanabha Reddy said as per sub-section (6) of section 15 of Right to Information Act, “The State Information Commissioner shall not be a member of Parliament or of the legislature or hold any other office of profit or connected with any political party or carrying on any business or pursuing any profession.”

 

It said that among the selected persons, M. Ratan and Vijaya Nirmala attracted the condition of ‘holding an office of profit” while Imtiaz Ahamed and Tantiya Kumari were connected to a political party and V. Venkateswarlu is an active politician.

 

Not based on merit

 

It said the civil societies feel that the selection done by the committee was not based on merit but on political considerations.

 

“Many of them are within the ambit of the disqualification clause.”

 

Lok Satta charge

 

In another statement, Lok Satta, accused Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and Leader of Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu of colluding with each other in packing the State Information Commission with people known for their political affiliation or family ties with leaders or former bureaucrats.

 

Lok Satta Party working president D.V.V.S. Sarma said the way full-time commissioners were chosen would undermine the implementation of the historic RTI Act.

 

 

M. Ratan, Vijaya Nirmala holding an office of profit: Forum for Good Governance

 

‘Imtiaz Ahamed, Tantiya Kumari connected to a party, V. Venkateswarlu is an active politician'

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jetley

Its the same story in most, if not all, states

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karira

As reported in thehindu.com on 02 Feb 2012:

The Hindu : Today's Paper / NATIONAL : Venkaiah faults appointment of Information Commissioners

 

Venkaiah faults appointment of Information Commissioners

 

Senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu slammed the government for appointing persons who had unsuccessfully contested in the elections as Information Commissioners, saying that the body was not a ‘rehabilitation centre' for politicians and retired bureaucrats.

 

At a press conference here on Wednesday, he said the entire selection process was defective and urged the State government to clarify on the issue. He said that persons with character, calibre, capacity and good conduct should be appointed as Information Commissioners and wondered whether Leader of Opposition and Telugu Desam president N. Chandrababu Naidu had objected to any of the appointments.

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karira

As reported in thehindu.com on 04 Feb 2012:

The Hindu : NATIONAL / ANDHRA PRADESH : State draws flak on RTI nominations

 

State draws flak on RTI nominations

 

The controversial decision to nominate persons with political/bureaucratic affiliation as Information Commissioners continues to incur the wrath of RTI activists in Guntur district.

 

T.V. Bhaskar, director of Society for Integrated and Rural Inspirity and an RTI activist, in a press release hereon Friday slammed the State government for nominating the persons with political affiliation as RTI Commissioners.

 

Mr. Bhaskar observed that the decision was in contravention of RTI Act Section 15 (6) which has clearly stated that no persons with caste/political affiliation and those with conflict of interest should be appointed as RTI Commissioners.

 

Calling the appointments as arbitrary, Mr. Bhaskar said that he faxed his objections to UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan.

 

Moreover, the persons nominated as RTI Commissioner have no working knowledge of the RTI Act, he opined and demanded that the appointment should be quashed immediately.

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amin4go

Dear Karira Sir,

 

Please post in this forum regarding any activity like protest, dharna opposing appointment of Info Commissioners in Hyderabad one day in advance so that forum members can too join in support

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munirathnam

Considering the above circumstances, it could be said that the present politicians are not eligible to select the Information Commissioners in the present circumstances. They themselves proved it and no need to prove it again. Hence RTI Actneeded ammendaments as below:

 

1. The informaiton catogery that is under RTI Act (considering that the PAs and PIO refused in earier times) shall be uploaded in the website of the Information Commissions with the detailed reasioning.

 

2. The Public Authorities (PAs) shall display information in their office website (after taking the approval from Information Commission) about the informaiton that is under RTI Act and the information that is not under RTI Act to enable the Information Commission to decide it suo-moto.

 

3.The PA shall give reference of Information Commission decision while denying information to avoid appeals and complaints.

 

4.Every District shall have Incormation Commissioner at district head quarters.

 

5.Incormation Commissioners shall be from another state.

 

6.Sending RTI application and fee online shall be permitted.

 

7.The RTI applictions received by any office shalll be uploaded in the website of the office to avoid many such RTIs in future from public.

 

8.The replies for the RTI applictions by any office shalll be uploaded in the website of the office to avoid many such RTIs in future from public.

 

 

 

 

3.

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karira

As reported in thehindu.com on 05 Feb 2012:

The Hindu : NATIONAL / ANDHRA PRADESH :

 

‘Cancel appointment of Information Commissioners'

 

Expressing concern at political considerations in the selection of State Information Commissioners (SICs), former IAS officer E.A.S. Sarma has asked Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan to annul the appointments.

 

In a representation to the Governor on Friday, Mr. Sarma, who is convener of the Forum for Better Visakha, said they had earlier expressed apprehensions over the government treating the appointment of the SICs as a means to dispensing political patronage.

 

He said the government took more than a year to process the appointments, thereby hurting the institution of Information Commissioners and eroding its credibility.

 

Article 19 of the Constitution and the RTI Act enacted in pursuance of that Article revolve around the fundamental right to know about the functioning of all public authorities.

 

Public disclosure

 

In fairness to the spirit of these provisions, the government should have made an advance public disclosure of the criteria for selecting the SICs and the background of each applicant and his/ her qualifications.

 

“How many of the civil servants among the applicants, serving and retired, truly upheld the provisions of the Act, especially the need for suo motu public disclosure under Section 4?

 

There would have been a healthy and a meaningful public debate on these issues. By not making such an advance public disclosure, the State government has vitiated the process of selection,” he alleged.

 

Mr. Sarma mentioned that it was under the Article 19 that the candidates contesting all public offices including MPs, MLAs etc., were required to disclose their financial and criminal background before their names could be considered.

 

Why did the government want to exempt SIC applicants from disclosing their background, he wondered.

 

He said there were at least three serving/ retired civil servants. Would there not be the issue of conflict-of-interest arising in their cases, as they would be sometimes called upon to adjudicate on the disclosure of information relating to the respective departments in which they served?

 

The FBV convener demanded cancellation of the appointments and consideration of genuinely committed people for enforcing the RTI Act to be named as Information Commissioners in a transparent way.

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Pulivarthi Narasimhulu

After lapse of 14 months, the committee selected eight persons to appoint as Information Commissioners to APIC in the existing three vacancies. The decision is to be appreciated in respect of quantity but not in quality. Out of eight recommended, four belongs to various political parties. The activists are opposing the selection of these Commissioners and appealing the Hon'ble Governor not to appoint them. But there will be no use. Eight will be appointed automatically. For the last 14 months, the applicants are in sleepy condition waiting for the decisions. Atleast now, the pending appeals are decided by the coming eight Commissioners speedly and in a new manner i.e., not given by the previous Commissoners (without imposing penalities even in the right cases). Good luck to the applicants of A.P.

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