Issued on behalf of Dr. Anna BVA (Bhrashtachar Virodhi Andolan) Office
Mr. Pradip Pradhan noted RTI activist of Odissha has filed first Grievance of Annaji's "Appeal to Save RTI" campaign to President of India. 99 more are being filed by eminent RTI activists who have joined him.
The subject is corrupt joint decision of Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha to appoint only ex-bureaucrats to Central Information Commission.
Mr. Pradhan is member of Anna Campaign Committee, India Against Corruption, Working Committee member of NCPRI and also National RTI Forum.
The Grievance number is PRSEC/E/2013/13102
Text of Mr. Pradhan's Grievance is below.
Subject: Appointment of Information Commissioners
I am an aggrieved Right To Information ("RTI") user, subscriber to the popular movement known as "India Against Corruption" and member National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI) and also National RTI Forum
Dr. Anna Hazare and India Against Corruption have come to know that the Prime Minister (Cong.) and the Leader of Opposition (BJP) have mutually decided that maximum number of retired bureaucrats from among their pre-selected candidates shall be appointed as Information Commissioners. The candidates for the vital post of Chief Information Commissioner have also been corruptly restricted to either Mr.P.K. Misra (former Secretary DoPT) or to the senior-most of the present Information Commissioners (who are also all former bureaucrats) in a thoroughly irregular and unprescribed manner, and without issuing any notice or publicly seeking applications for the post of Chief Commissioner.
It would thus seem that the applications which were solicited and inserted in the newspapers and on the DoPT's website from the public and civil society are only a device devised to obscure predetermined selections by a process best described as "horse trading". It is certainly strange that all the previous Chief Information Commissioners without exception were formerly Secretaries to the Govt. of India.
The citizens and affected RTI users are concerned that it has been fixed between the Prime Minister Dr. Man Mohan Singh (of the Congress Party) and the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Smt. Sushma Swaraj (of the Bharatiya Janta Party) that the legitimate claims/applications of honest and eminent RTI experts and persons from Civil Society shall be corruptly ignored by an unprescribed device of a "Screening Committee" which is packed with pliable persons with many from IAS.
Dr Anna Hazare and the India Against Corruption stress that sub-section 12(5) of the Right to Information Act specifies that
"The Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners shall be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance."
This clause does not specify that only retired bureaucrats shall be appointed to these posts. Neither is it envisaged, either in its letters or in its spirit, that this clause is to serve as the vehicle for retired bureaucrats to retain their luxurious perks of office as sinecures for services they rendered while in office.
Accordingly Dr. Anna Hazare and the India Against Corruption have issued their present Appeal, and as an affected user of RTI Act processes I am sufficiently aggrieved by their call, seeing my rights to a fair RTI appellate process being hitherto rendered a nullity by appointment of pliable ex-bureaucrats and former public servants, to protest the selection procedures as ultra-vires and to demand
that the appointments be honest, fully transparent and conducted openly. The Appeal may be viewed online at http://saverti.webege.com
PRAYER: Kindly see to it that in this round of appointments not even 1 (one) ex-public servant is selected so as to redress the gross imbalance in backgrounds and experience prevailing in the Central Information Commission, and that all its selections are conducted publicly and transparently.
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