SC judgment stalls appointment of 8 info commissioners in UP
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The process of appointment of eight information commissioners in UP has been stalled following last week's Supreme Court judgment which says that preference should be given to former high court judges, and that information commissions work with benches of two members each, one of whom should be a "judicial member" and another an "expert member". Further, the court has said lawyers can be appointed "judicial members", but they should have experience of 20 years of practice.
Sources in the government said that the panel of names that was sent to Raj Bhavan last month will now first be scrutinised by the Governor in the light of the Supreme Court judgment. After the names were sent to the Governor, he had first sought detailed background of each candidate before taking any decision.
At present, the state information commissioners are appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of a committee chaired by the chief minister and including the leader of opposition in the legislative Assembly and a cabinet minister nominated by the chief minister.
When the committee met, the criteria for appointment of the state chief information commissioner and state information commissioners was that they should be persons of "eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance".
However, in its judgment on September 13, the Supreme Court's bench of Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar directed that the "chief information commissioner at the Centre or state level shall only be a person who is or has been a Chief Justice of the High Court or a Judge of the Supreme Court of India".
Since the judgment is applicable "prospectively", the state government can at least relax in case of Chief Information Commissioner Ranjit Singh Pankaj, who is a retired IAS officer and still has two years of his term left.
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