State Information Commissioner complains to Governor against denigration and degradation
The Chief Information Commissioner at State Information Commission (SIC) Jannat Hussain and the state information commissioners met the governor ESL Narasimhan on Wednesday at the Raj Bhavan to apprise him of the alleged lackadaisical attitude of the state bureaucracy which is creating hurdles in the implementation of Right to Information Act, 2005. The information commissioners who accompanied him included P Vijaya Babu, Varre Venkateswarulu, M Ratan, Lam Thantiya Kumari, Vijaya Nirmala and S Imtiyaz Ahmed.
Against the directive of the Special chief secretary (GAD) Lingaraj Panigrahi to all commissioners and district collectors of AP asking them to ignore the threats from information commission, a complaint was earlier lodged with the AP chief secretary IYR Krishna Rao. Panigrahi had cited the Blue Book formula to claim that the information commissioners were not equal to chief secretary in protocol. In response to the complaint of ‘denigration and degradation’ of the Information Commissioners, the governor reportedly said that he was not aware of the said directive to all district collectors of Andhra Pradesh and assured that the matter would be looked into.
As per Section 16(5) of the RTI Act 2005, the status of the State Information Commissioner shall be of that of a Chief Secretary and the Act overrides anything which is inconsistent with it. In his interaction with the media, Vijaya Babu has that a section of IAS officers do not want to come out of the colonial legacy. He blamed them of not respecting RTI the Act and orders of the State Information Commission.
Such altercation at the highest level does not auger well for the RTI Act. Mud sledging is not going to lead the Andhra Pradesh SIC, which falls in the schedule ten of the AP Re-organisation Act, to anywhere. To prevent it from turning into an ineffective body, the issue needs to be looked into without any further delay.