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Punjab: Appointment of 2 commissioners cleared ‘moments’ before poll code

Atul Patankar

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Atul Patankar

As reported by Jasneet Bindra on Jul 30 2011 at indianexpress.com


Just before the code of conduct for the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections — which will be held on September 18 — came into force, the Punjab government had cleared the appointment of two information commissioners.

The notification for appointment of former IAS officer Bidhi Chand Thakur and journalist with an English daily, Chander Prakash, was issued on Thursday. Though the government claimed that the notification was issued in the evening — before the code came into force — sources said the orders were issued in a jiffy late in the evening.


Incidentally, the notification of three commissioners appointed during the tenure of the previous Congress government in 2007 was also issued a day before the code of conduct for the Assembly elections had come into force.


The government was in a hurry to appoint the two commissioners, as the code will remain in force for about a month-and-a-half. While the names of Thakur and Prakash were cleared early this year, the file was not approved by Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil, who, according to sources, had expressed some reservations. Besides, people from the civil society and RTI activists had also objected to the move.


However, Principal Secretary (Information Technology) A R Talwar told The Indian Express that the Governor just wanted to ensure that the eligibility of the persons appointed should be as per the RTI Act.


The commissioners cannot join till the oath is administered by the Governor. Asked if the swearing-in will be held under the poll code, Talwar — while confirming that the notification was issued on Thursday evening — said the date for oath has not been decided. But in case there was a hitch, the Gurdwara Election Commission will be consulted.


The Punjab State Information Commission, at present, has four commissioners. With these two appointments, four seats will be left vacant. As per the RTI Act, a state commission can have 10 commissioners and a CIC. As soon as the SGPC polls are over, the government will go in an overdrive to appoint more, as three commissioners — P P S Gill, Kulbir Singh and Ravi Singh — will retire in January next year, just before the Assembly elections.


The latest appointment to the commissioner’s post was of Jaspal Kaur, daughter-in-law of SAD MP Balwinder Singh Bhunder, in November 2009. The decision had kicked up storm with the Opposition Congress accusing the government of making the commission a parking place for its trusted lieutenants.

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Guest pcbali

Both are near to ruling party in Punjab, Eminence should be made objective, like IQ, if it could be counted, why not Eminence.

These appointments are based on reason of Eminence, One had been IAS Secretary to cooperatives (to the best of my knowledge) Other an old Journalist from The Tribune, Daily, Chandigarh and worked during elections of Top brass of ruling party in their constituency in their favour. A good reward for the job.

Their are onlytwo which are eminent and no one else.

What will become of RTI in this country. We are loosing all achievedived as wanticipatedpted.

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