Are there any rules for appointment of information commissioner?
An application was filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking to get information about how the name of social activist Ranjana Kumari was considered for the post of information commissioner in 2012 even though she had not applied for the same. The reply from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Cabinet Secretariat and the Department of Personnel and Training states that there was no record showing that the name of Ranjana Kumari was considered by the selection committee for recommending it to the President for the appointment of information commissioner.
However, in the hearing of the case before the CIC, it was found that DoPT had put two lists before the selection committee out which only the first list was considered by the committee. Ranjana Kumari’s name appeared in the second list. The Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra said, “From the submissions made by the respondents during the hearing, it is quite clear that there are no such rules. The RTI itself does not lay down any such procedure and the Centre has not framed any rules about the exact method to be followed for selection and appointment of Information Commissioners.”
In this regard, centre had constituted a search committee in 2011 under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary, on whose directions the DoPT invited applications. However, it was also revealed that the government might consider the name of a person for the post even without any formal application from the candidate. When there are rules for the appointment of even a group D staff, it is surprising that there are no rules for appointing an information commissioner.