SC to hear plea on filling up CIC, SIC posts

New Delhi [India], August 25 : The Supreme Court on Wednesday informed that it will hear a plea seeking directions to government authorities for implementation of the top court’s 2019 verdict regarding the timely and transparent appointment of Information Commissioners in the Central Information Commission (CIC) and state panels under the Right to Information Act, on September 1.
A Bench of Justice Abdul Nazeer and Justice Krishna Murari adjourned the hearing today and posted it for hearing for next Wednesday. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Madhavi Divan appearing for the Centre told the apex court that the government has filed a compliance affidavit as per the court’s earlier direction.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner and RTI activist Anjali Bhardwaj who has sought implementation of the 2019 verdict, contended that the government has not complied with the directions.
The Bench said, “Mr Bhushan, you are only concerned about the vacancies but there are issues of infrastructure as well.”
Earlier, the apex court had sought from the Centre the latest compliance report on the judgement passed by the top court in 2019, and also the updated report stating the present status of vacancies.
By its 2019 order, the apex court had passed a slew of directions to the Central and State governments to fill vacancies across Central and State Information Commissions in a transparent and timely manner. In its order the court had given three months to the Centre to fill the vacancies that existed in the CIC.
The top court had also directed the authorities concerned to put on the website the names of members of the search committee, meant for selection and appointment of CIC’s information commissioners (ICs), within two weeks.
On the earlier hearing, Bhushan had submitted that despite repeated directions from the court there are still three vacancies and the government ought to have put a present status on record. Their criteria of selection etc, nothing has been placed on record, he added.
Bhushan had further told the Bench that posts are vacant, pendency is going. “RTI Act was brought in accordance with several judgements to effectuate Right to Information, but the whole RTI Act is being destroyed. Either the posts are vacant or they fill them up with party supporters who can shield their acts,” claimed the lawyer.
Bhardwaj had filed the application in an already pending PIL on filling up of vacancies in CIC and the State Information Commissions (SICs), in view of the top court’s December 16, 2019 order.
The plea had contended that more than 300 people had applied for the vacancies and they shortlisted seven people but details of others weren’t on record at all. Criteria for selecting people for the search committee should be made public but it was not given to the leader of opposition too, it said.

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