Sekhar Babu was due to retire by April-end

An IAS officer, S.E.Sekhar Babu, who is presently Secretary, A.P. Information Commission (APIC), has reportedly put in his papers, seeking voluntary retirement from service by this month-end.

Mr. Sekhar Babu was the Secretary, Finance Department, before he was shifted and posted to the APIC in June last year, as part of major reshuffle of IAS officers carried out by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy.

Unhappy officers

He was one among the IAS officers who were unhappy with their new postings in the June reshuffle but assumed charge as Secretary to the Commission in September last. Several officers such as P.V. Ramesh and B.D. Ekka had proceeded on leave as they were discontented with their new assignments.

Mr. Sekhar Babu, who is due to retire on attaining superannuation by April-end, was one among over 100 applicants for the posts of Information Commissioners. However, he did not make the cut and eight others, including politicians and bureaucrats selected as Commissioners after approval by a committee comprising the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister C. Damodar Rajanarsimha and Leader of Opposition leader N. Chandrababu Naidu on January 31.

However, the Governor is yet to approve the file sent by the government for his perusal last week.

Sources said that Mr. Sekhar Babu did not want to serve as Secretary to the APIC as he feels that some Information Commissioners had made it to the posts purely on political considerations and with no knowledge about the Commission or the provisions of the Right to Information Act.

Concern

In the last couple of weeks, several civil society leaders, including retired IAS officer E.V.S.Sarma, and NGOs expressed their concern over the selection of some Information Commissioners on the basis of political patronage and urged Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan to annul the appointments, which did not conform to the spirit of the RTI Act.

The Information Commission, which earlier had only three Commissioners, had no infrastructure or resources for providing offices for all the eight ICs.

The responsibilities of the Secretary include proper functioning of the Commission Office and he would be responsible for ensuring compliance of the orders, directions or decisions passed by the Commission and to take all necessary steps in this regard. He would have to assist all the Information Commissioners in the discharge of their functions.

Ramanachari's case

The State government, it is learnt, has approved Mr. Sekhar Babu's request for VRS. Recently, a senior IAS officer K. V. Ramanachari, who was serving as Principal Secretary, Endowments, also opted for retirement two months ahead of his superannuation.