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akhilesh yadav posted a topic in RTI in MediaIt took nearly 15 years for India’s Right to Information Act (RTI) to finally become a law in 2005 after the late VP Singh (who was India’s prime minister briefly) first stressed the importance of a law that would give citizens the right to seek and get information. But now that landmark act could become toothless in far less time than that. If that happens, it will be a big blow for India’s citizens and for true democracy. Under RTI any citizen can request, as her fundamental right, information from public authority, which is bound to reply speedily — within 30 days. Since its enactment in 2005, not only has the number of RTI applications soared — around 70 central government offices alone received an average of a million applications a month in 2013 compared to 100,000 a month in 2007 — but it has also been a law that has been instrumental in the unearthing of several scams and misdeeds involving hundreds of crores of rupees. Read at: If we hobble Right to Information, then we hobble Indiaâ€™s democracy
karira posted a topic in RTI in MediaWho will be India’s next Central Chief Information Commissioner under RTI ? After nearly six months of keeping the post of Central CIC’s post vacant and with 203 applicants responding to DoPT’s advertisement for this post, the screening committee is finally meeting on 16th January to decide a name So, who will be India’s next Central Chief Information Commissioner? The Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) has invited the search committee members comprising cabinet secretary, Rashtrapati Bhavan (chairman); Additional Principal Secretary to PM; Secretary, DoPT; Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs; Secretary, Dept of Expenditure and Professor Ram Chand, National Centre for Agricultural Economics & Policy. They are scheduled to meet at the cabinet secretariat of Rahtrapati Bhavan on 16th January. On the same day, another meeting to draw a panel for information commissioners will also take place. The Agenda note for the meeting states that the 203 applications received for the CIC post have been divided into seven categories to facilitate shortlisting of candidate. The Agenda note procured by Moneylife states: “(the) Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has directed that for the sake of consistency and uniformity in approach, the procedure for selection of information commissioner, which includes amongst other things, advertising the post and short listing by a search committee may be adopted for appointment to the post of Chief Information Commissioner as well. Such short listed panel may then be placed before the selection committee for its consideration.” “Accordingly, a circular was posted on the website of DoPT inviting applications to the post of Chief Information Commissioner on 24.10.2014. The post was also advertised in three leading newspapers (two in English and one in Hindi) as was done for appointment to the posts of information commissioners. The last date of receipt of applications is 24.11.2014. A total number of 203 applications for the post of Chief Information Commissioner in CIC were received. Applications received after the cut-off date of 24.11.2014 are not being considered.” “As per Section 12 (5) of the RTI Act 2005, the Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioner 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.” “Accordingly, all these 203 applications have been broadly categorized into seven categories of knowledge and experience as mentioned above. Few applications which do not fall within these seven categories have been mentioned as ‘other’ categories. However, for the sake of categorization, only the main field of knowledge and experience, if any, have not been indicated. Law: 37 Science & Technology: 21 Social Service: 09 Management: 28 Journalism: 03 Mass Media: 05 Administration and Governance: 89 Others: 11 Total: 203 Here is the list of these 203 candidates…(also attached) 252592665-Vinita-List-of-Candidates-for-CIC.pdf “It is pertinent to mention that in a Review Petition filed by Union of India against Hon’ble Supreme Court judgment dated 13.09.2012 in Namit Sharma case, the Hon’ble Supreme Court vie the judgment dated 03.09.2013, inter-alia, gave the following direction: 1. We direct that only persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in the fields mentioned…..be considered for appointment as information commissioner and Chief Information Commissioner.’’ The Search Committee would be seeking reports from Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of the shortlisted persons and would ask DoPT to obtain reports from Intelligence Bureau (IB). So, finally it seems the crucial vacancy that had earned ire from activists from across the country is well on its way to be filled up. However, India needs to thank Delhi-based RTI activist Commodore Lokesh Batra (retd) who has been pursuing this issue through RTI applications. Batra says, “Though there is a huge delay in filling up the above posts, I am of the opinion that this time the process of shortlisting is going to be more transparent.’’ [TABLE=width: 700] [TR] [TD] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD][TABLE=width: 660, align: center] [TR] [TD] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Here is the chronology of his efforts as timeline by him:[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]07.09.2014 : Filed RTI in DoPT (No. 1-Attachment)[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]07.10.2014 : CPIO, DoPT sent response and intimated that both the Files are under submission i.e. (i) File No.4/4/2014-IR concerning processing the appointment of Information Commissioners in CIC and (ii) File No.4/7/2014-IR concerning processing of appointment of Chief Information Commissioner" in CIC.[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]29.10.2014, I inspected File No.4/7/2014-IR : concerning appointment of Chief Information Commissioner after it was returned by PMO and collected certified copies of Notings Side from Page NOs 15 to 31 (last page). I also collected relevant 10 pages from Correspondence side.[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]DoPT File No.4/7.2014 : Appointment of Chief Information Commissioner in CIC 2014[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]• PMO after holding the file for over two and half months (from 01.08.2014)..... returned the file to DoPT vide PMO ID dated 17 October 2014. In its note of 17 October 2014, PMO stated that : Quote : "Prime Minister has desired that for the sake of consistency and uniformity in approach, the procedure for selection of Information Commissioners which includes, among other things, advertising the post and short listing by a Search Committee, may be adopted for appointment to the post of Central Information Commissioner as well. Such short-listed panel may then be placed before the Selection Committee for its consideration."Unquote[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]12 June 2014 : DoPT sought clarification from Lok Sabha Secretariat : "xxx whether any leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha has been recognised. If the leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha has not been recognised as such, it is requested to kindly intimate the name of the leader of the single largest group in opposition of Government in the Lok Sabha, for the purpose of selection of Information Commissioners as per the RTI Act."[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]19 June 2014 : Lok Sabha Secretariat responded to DoPT's above clarification and stated : Quote "As on date, there is no Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha. Indian National Congress with a strength of 44 members is, however, the single largest party in opposition to the Government in Lok Sabha. As per information received from the party, Mallikaarjun Kharge is the Leader of Indian National Congress in Lok Sabha" Unquote[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]08 July 2014: DoPT sought the advice of Department of Legal Affairs (DOLA) as to whether the Leader of single largest party in opposition can be considered as Leader of the single largest group in opposition, in Lok Sabha, for the sake of section 12(3) of RTI Act.[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]15 July 2014: Pending Clarification from DOLA..... DoPT submitted file with brief to PMO for kind consideration of Hon'ble Prime Minister on 'Appointment of Chief Information Commissioner' in Central Information Commission for :- (i) Nomination of a Union Cabinet Minister for the Selection Committee u/s of the RTI act. (ii) A convenient date for holding of the meeting of the Selection Committee.[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]21 July 2014: V. Sheshadri, Director, PMO in its note to Secretary, DoPT conveyed that the Prime Minister has nominated Arun Jaitley, Union Minister of Finance, Corporate Affairs and Defence, as the Member of the Selection Committee under of Section 12(3) of the RTI Act. The PMO note goes on to say "The undersigned is directed to convey that the matter shall be resubmitted for a decision on date of meeting of Selection Committee, after the issue raised in para 6 of the aforesaid note is decided."[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]17 July 2014: DOPT received clarification from DOLA. DOLA confirmed on DoPT query in affirmative with a rider that "We, however, clarify that this answer is only for the limited purpose of the RTI Act [explanation below section 12(3)] and not for any other purpose"[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]31 July 2014: File was again submitted to PMO. In this note name of Mallikarjun Kharge, the Leader of Indian National Congress in Lok Sabha was included as Member of the Selection Committee and Arun Jaitley, Union Minister of Finance, Corporate Affairs and Defence as Member of the Selection Committee.[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]17 October 2014: PMO after holding the file for over two and half months (from 01.08.2014)..... returned the file to DoPT vide PMO ID dated 17 October 2014[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]24 October 2014 : DoPT uploaded a circular on the website of DoPT advertising post of Chief Information Commissioner and later also advertised in English and Hindi Newspapers[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD] [/TD] [/TR] [/TABLE] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD][/TD] [/TR] [/TABLE]