Is there any procedure for appointment of Central Information Commissioners?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Cabinet Secretariat, Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) and Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in which he referred to the selection and appointment of Information Commissioners and the consideration of a particular lady (Smt Ranjana Kumari) for the same. In this context the appellant raised number of queries. The Public Information Officer (PIO) of DoPT and PMO provided some information to the appellant. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) noted that the department had no record to show that said lady had been considered by the Selection Committee.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant specified that his RTI application related to the consideration of the name of that lady for the post of Information Commissioner even though she was not one of the applicants. The respondent insisted that she was never considered by the Selection Committee when it had met for deciding on the names of the Information Commissioners. As per the information that the Department had put up a list of 11 names before the Selection Committee and it is out of this list of 11 names that the Selection Committee had recommended three names to the President of India for appointment as Information Commissioners. That list of 11 did not include the name of the said lady. After this exercise was over, the Department had put up another list of 9 names including the name of the lady in question before the Selection Committee which never considered these names. In this context the appellant wanted the Department to clarify how the name of the said lady was included in the list of 9 names put before the Selection Committee even though she had not applied for this post as well he also wanted to know about the rules in this regard.
View of CIC
The Commission observed that the RTI Act itself did not lay down any such procedure and the central government has not framed any rules about the exact method to be followed for selection and appointment of Information Commissioners. The CIC further noted that until there are such rules framed by the competent authority, it would be beyond the scope and duty of the PIO to speculate on any rule or basis on which this particular name was included in a list put up before the Selection Committee. The Commission rejected the appeal stating that there is no further information to be disclosed in the case.
Citation: Mr. Subhash Chandra Agrawal v. Cabinet Secretariat, Department of Personnel & Training, Prime Minister's Office in File No. CIC/SM/A/2013/000105
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1418
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission