Appointment of SIC: hearing adjourned

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday adjourned to August 16 the hearing on a writ petition challenging the appointment of Sony Thengamam as State Information Commissioner (SIC).

When the petition filed by D.B. Binu, High Court lawyer and general secretary of the RTI Kerala Federation, came up for hearing, Justice S. Siri Jagan asked the Government Pleader to make an argument on the question whether the Governor could be made a respondent in the petition on the next date of hearing.

The petitioner pointed out that Mr. Sony was the assistant secretary of the Kollam district committee of the Communist Party of India (CPI). He had been involved in activities of the CPI in various capacities for long.

The petitioner said the Right to Information Act disqualified MPs or MLAs or a person who holds any other office of profit or connected with any political party or engaged in any business or any profession from being appointed as State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner.

Mr. Sony, being a political worker, could not have been considered for appointment to the post of State Information Commissioner. Besides, he did not have the qualification as prescribed by the Act. As per Section 15(5) of the Act, a person of eminence in public life with knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and government should alone be appointed as State Chief Commissioner or State Information Commissioners.

Mr. Sony had not made any mark in any of these fields. That apart, his name should not have been considered in public interest as well due to his poor health. The petitioner said he had requested the Governor to reject the recommendation made by the committee for appointment of the State Information Commissioner. In fact, the committee ought to have acted in public interest rather than personal and political interests. The recommendation was totally unjustified in law.

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