AP High Court quashes the appointment of four Information Commissioners
In early 2012, the state government of Andhra Pradesh had sent eight names for the posts of state information commissioners to the Governor for his approval. Please refer to: AP appoints eight Information Commissioners - http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/ap-appoints-eight-information-commissioners-1009. However, there was hue and cry over the names of four of them as the activists and NGOs protested against their appointment due to their alleged political background. There were allegations that the appointments were predetermined and were done by violating the norms. Please refer to: The appointment of the Information Commissioners under RTI stalled in AP - http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/appointment-information-commissioners-under-rti-st-1148
The governor of Andhra approved only four of the names but the government ignored the Governor’s objections and sent back the file to him, leaving him no option but to approve all the appointments. Please refer to: AP Governor seeks the opinion of AG on appointment of Information Commissioners - http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/ap-governor-seeks-opinion-ag-appointment-informati-3191. Also refer to: Four Information Commissioners appointed in Andhra Pradesh - http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/four-information-commissioners-appointed-andhra-pr-1560
Thereafter, a writ petition was filed in the Andhra Pradesh High Court challenging the appointment of the four politically active candidates - Varre Venkateswarulu, Lam Tantiya Kumari, Imtiaz Ahmed and M. Vijaya Nirmala - as information commissioners. The petitioner contended that the appointments were violative of the letter and spirit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act as explained by Supreme Court. Please refer to: RTI - Information Commissioners do not have requisite qualifications - http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/rti-information-commissioners-do-not-have-requisit-2176
The high court bench found during the hearing that there was nothing on the record to show that the appointed persons had severed all the political connections which they had prior to the appointment. It also observed that the procedure followed was not in tune with the act's spirit. The court set aside these appointments and directed the state government to make fresh appointments within six weeks. Meanwhile, the four information commissioners have said that they will approach the Supreme Court against these orders.
Readers may also refer to: Transparency in the appointment of the Information Commissioners is a must for the working of RTI Act - http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/transparency-appointment-information-commissioners-1349