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Why only bureaucrats as information commissioners, asks SC

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IANS New Delhi
The Supreme Court on Tuesday frowned at the way appointments to the information commissions, both at the Centre and in states, were being made only from the serving or retired bureaucrats, overlooking the mandate of the Right to Information Act which says eminent people from diverse fields should be appointed to such posts.
"Out of these 14 names apart from bureaucrats, is there any one from other fields?" asked Justice A.K. Sikri, who along with Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, reserved orders on a PIL seeking transparent and a criteria-based appointment of information commissioners, both at the Centre and in states.
"You don't find any person from other category under the Right to Information Act?" Justice Sikri asked.
Taking a dig at making the appointment of information commissioners an all-bureaucrat affair, Justice Sikri said of the 14 names, one is a retired judge while the rest are bureaucrats.
When Additional Solicitor General Pinki Anand pointed to former high commissioner too on the list, Justice Sikri said in a way he too comes in the category of former serving government officials.
Noting that to "some extent what the petitioner is saying is correct", Justice Sikri said that it is the "psyche" that bureaucrats are the people who alone can work as information commissioners.
As ASG Anand referred to the search committee that had shortlisted the names, Justice Sikri said, it too was packed with bureaucrats.
Appearing for the petitioner Anjali Bhardwaj, advocate Pranab Sachdeva told the court that the focus should be on criteria-based transparent process.
--IANS
pk/prs

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First Published: Jan 29 2019 | 7:48 PM IST

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