Selection of candidates turns controversial as all the four names recommended by the government had active political connections

Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan has commenced the exercise of obtaining legal opinion on the file sent by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy’s office recommending names for appointment as Information Commissioners under the Right To Information Act.

Mr. Narasimhan sought the advice of Advocate General A. Sudarshan Reddy on the names recommended by the high level committee headed by the Chief Minister. The Government had sent the names of retired civil judge S. Imtiaz Ahmed, erstwhile Praja Rajyam leader M. Vijaya Nirmala, L. Tantiya Kumari and V. Venkateswarlu for the second time. The selection of the four names turned controversial as all the four had active political connections and two of them in fact contested the previous elections.

The Governor returned the file a year ago after strong opposition from civil rights activists and RTI campaigners who decried the attempts to turn the Information Commission into a “political rehabilitation centre”. But re-sending the file for the second time landed the Governor in a dilemma as he had no powers to reject it once again. In this background, Mr. Narasimhan consulted the Advocate General on the options before him. Civil rights activists maintain that the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Namit Sharma case was clear. It made it mandatory for Information Commissioners to be experts or they should be from the legal fraternity.