Appointment of information commissioners

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday asked the State government to inform whether any guidelines had been formulated for selection of persons to the posts of Chief Information Commissioner and State Information Commissioners.

The Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice V. Chitambaresh issued the directive on a writ petition filed by D.B. Binu, High Court lawyer and general secretary of the RTI Kerala Federation, seeking a directive to frame appropriate procedure for selection of candidates to the posts of Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioner in the State Information Commission.

The petitioner also pleaded for a directive to keep in abeyance all the steps taken to fill the vacancies of the information commissioners. He pointed out that the candidates for these posts were not being selected after advertising and inviting applications from eligible persons. What the Centre and State government selection committees do was approve the names given by the governments. The posts were filled by persons having a good rapport with the power that be.

Therefore, the selection process was really a mockery. In fact, the selection was a foregone conclusion. In the absence of any procedure for selection, the ineligible and incompetent persons were appointed. The petitioner cited the appointment of Sony Thengamam as State Information Commissioner in 2010 as classic case of such kind of appointment. He was a political activist when his appointment was considered by the selection committee. Though the Governor had turned down his name, the government put its foot down and appointed him.

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