HC directs UP government to fill the posts of Information Commissioner
A division bench consisting of Chief Justice Shiva Kirti Singh and Justice Devendra Kumar Arora of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has directed the Uttar Pradesh government to fill the vacant posts of information commissioners in the State Information Commission (SIC).
Taking suo-motu cognizance of a newspaper report that as many as eight out of 10 posts of information commissioner in UP were vacant, the bench took up the matter as a public interest litigation (PIL), and directed the UP government to complete the process at an early date and file a compliance report.
The UP government submitted in a counter affidavit that certain provisions of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 were before the review bench of apex court in the case of Namit Sharma Vs. Union of India. The apex court had directed to reword or amend the provisions of sub-sections 12 (5), 12 (6), 15 (5) and 15 (6) of the Act. The Court had ruled that henceforth, the information commission shall work in benches of two members each - one of them being a "judicial member" and the other "expert member". The HC observed that such direction could not be construed as a hindrance in the working of the Act till the legislative amendments are carried out.
In its order dated April 15, the HC held that the exercise of selection of Information Commissioners should be completed and vacant posts should be filled up at an early date, preferably within three months. The HC stated that this order shall be subject to any guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in the review application pending before it. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has stayed its own order in the Namit Sharma cases.