Forum for Better Visakha (FBV) has expressed its anguish over attempts for political lobbying to get vacant posts filled in the AP State Information Commission (APSIC).
Former IAS officer and FBV convener E.A.S. Sarma said, “We understand that they intend treating the offices of the Chief Information Commissioner and the other Information Commissioners as offices of political patronage, proposed to be loaded with those that have served their interests faithfully and are compliant with their requirements, more than the requirements of the Right to Information Act.”
Mr. Sarma, who is a known RTI activist, said the Act had been enacted with the sacred intention of empowering the citizen to demand and secure truthful information on the functioning of the various public authorities of the Central and the State Governments.
The Information Commissioners at the Centre and in the States were expected to be professionals of a high degree of integrity, independent of the government, having no conflict of interest and accountable only to the legislature, he added.
“Unfortunately, both the Central Government and its counterparts in the States have made a mockery of this and chosen to load the commissions with pliant civil servants seeking post-retirement sops The performance of most of these commissions, according to the evaluation exercises carried out by the civil society, has remained far below the expectations of the legislature, as envisaged in the Act,” he said.
Mr. Sarma asked the State government to introspect and review the procedure that was sought to be adopted for selecting its State Information Commissioners with respect for the spirit and the letter of the RTI Act and ensure that such appointments will only enhance the overall credibility of the Commission, not erode it.
He wanted the commission being headed by eminent RTI professionals drawn from outside the civil service labyrinth.