Indian Group Criticizes CIC Selection Process

25 March 2015

The National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) has complained about delays in the selection of a new chief information commissioner and the secrecy of the process.

The post has been vacant for seven months since Aug. 22, 2014.

Activists Aruna Roy, Anjali Bhardwaj, Nikhil Dey and the Former CIC Wajahat Habibullah addressed a gathering in New Delhi March 23.

“The delay in appointing the Chief is deliberate,” said Roy.

They reported that in response to a request for the minutes of the search committee’s meeting, the Personnel Ministry confirmed that two meetings were held this year, but said no minutes were kept so the attendees could not be identified.

“The appointment process is completely opaque and in violation of the Supreme Court’s orders to appoint Information Commissioners in a transparent manner,” said Anjali Bhardwaj of the NCPRI adding, “The delay in appointment is a clear attempt by the government to weaken the institution of the CIC.”

Bhardwaj said the number of pending appeals at the CIC has grown to 37,800 appeals, of which 13,318 are before the missing Chief Information Commissioner’s bench, and relate chiefly to the Ministry of Defence, the Human Resource Development ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office.

They pointed out that more than 13,000 appeals and complaints related to public authorities are pending at the CIC.

The activists also objected to a lack of information about the government’s plans to amend the 2014 Whistleblower’s Protection Act.

See reports on the press conference in The Hindu,  DNA of South Delhi, Indian Express, Times of India and NewsHub.

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