The Human Rights Defence Forum has urged the Governor H. R. Bhardwaj to return the recommendation for appointment of two politicians as State Information Commissioners.
In a representation to the Governor, the general secretary of the Forum D. B. Binu pointed out that the Selection Committee headed by the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had recommended the appointment of Vidhura Sasi and Dr. Kuriyas Kumbalakuzhi as Commissioners last week without any kind of selection process or consideration of any other persons for the post.
The general secretary pointed out that an opportunity should have been provided for qualified persons to apply for the post as mandated under Article 14 of the Constitution. The appointment of these posts being appointments to an institution which function essentially to supervise the administrations of every democratic institutions, complete transparency and accountability should have been ensured, bearing in mind the decision of the Supreme Court rendered in the matter of appointment of Central Chief Vigilance Commissioner.
He recalled that the Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions had come out this time with a public notification inviting applications from the qualified and desiring candidates to the post of Information Commissioners in the Central Information Commission. However, the State government had not framed any selection process and criteria for assessing comparative merits of candidates.
The appointments were sought to be made in an arbitrary manner. “The State and the Selection Committee have played fraud on the Constitution and people by making appointments to very high offices by following a non-transparent, unfair and unreasonable process.”
Mr. Binu noted that the matter was also sub judice. The Forum had filed a writ petition before the High Court of Kerala seeking fair and reasonable procedure affording opportunity to all qualified and interested persons in the State to apply for the posts of Chief Information Commissioners. The Selection Committee had met and made recommendations while the case was under consideration.
The Court had asked the Government pleader whether any criteria or guide lines had been laid down for the selection committee to follow for recommendation of the names of persons for appointment as State Information Commissioners. The case then came up on April 12, but the Government pleader sought further time and the case was adjourned to a date after vacation.
“The hasty steps taken by the Selection Committee and the State government, unmindful of the Writ Petition and the prayers sought therein speaks itself the political unholy tie up of the parties in power and in opposition. The people therefore have to be vigilant to defeat the design of politicians to make such institutions as tool for defeating the democratic rights of the people,” he added.