The RTI Kerala Federation has objected to the reported nomination of a politician as an Information Commissioner.
The federation said the nomination of Sony B. Thengamam, member of the State Committee of the CPI and assistant district secretary of the party in Kollam, was against the violation of the RTI Act that stipulates that no politician should be considered for appointment as an Information Commissioner. The Governor, the appointing authority, has been urged to reject Mr. Thengamam’s nomination.
Mr. Thengamam and a former IAS officer, M.N. Gunavardhanan, have reportedly been recommended to the Governor to be appointed as commissioners to the existing vacancies in the Kerala State Information Commission. The recommendation was made by a three-member committee comprising the Chief Minister, another Minister and the Opposition Leader under Section 15(3) of the Right to Information Act of 2005.
In an appeal to the Governor, general secretary of the federation, D.B. Binu, pointed out that Section 15(6) the Act disqualifies a person if his is `connected with any political party’ to be considered for the post of Information Commissioner.
“The recommendation of Mr. Sony.B.Thengamam as State Information Commissioner is a blatant violation of the mandatory injunction of the Statute,” the appeal contended. “Shockingly, this committee (headed by the Chief Minster) has abdicated its statutory duty and failed to uphold the solemn confidence reposed in them by recommending a known political functionary as State Information Commissioner of the State.”
The federation has wanted the Governor not to consider Mr. Thengamam to the post (which is considered equivalent to a High Court judge’s rank.)