Chief Information Commissioner of UP charged with concealment of facts
A complaint has been made by Shri Lal Bahadur, a RTI activist, to the Governor alleging that Shri Ranjit Singh Pankaj, Chief Information Commissioner of the State Information Commission of Uttar Pradesh was guilty of wilful concealment of the fact that he was fined a sum of Rs 50,000 by the High Court. He has claimed that such concealment of information falls under the category of misconduct and has requested the governor to quash the appointment of Shri Pankaj. Governor B L Joshi, has made a reference to the government and the administrative reforms department has written to Shri Pankaj, seeking his version.
It has been claimed that before being appointed in the Chief Information Commissioner on June 30, 2009, he was working as Secretary, Mining and Geology. At that time, the High Court fined him Rs 50,000 in a matter and directed him to deposit the penalty within four weeks by a bank draft made from his salary account to the registrar general of the court.
Calling the complaint as "frivolous", Shri Pankaj claimed that the court order imposing that fine was common knowledge and he had already filed an appeal against the High Court's order. Shri Lal Bahadur pointed out that the appeal does not absolve him of the guilt of concealment of such a material fact before his appointment.
As per provisions of the RTI Act 2005, an Information Commissioner can be removed by the Governor on grounds of "misconduct" or "incompetence". In the state of Uttar Pradesh, the first Chief Information Commissioner of SIC, Justice M A Khan (retired) was earlier removed from office by then Governor T V Rajeshwar following a complaint.