Centre turns down RTI plea for CIC selection details
DoPT says search committee’s deliberations are exempted under the Act
The Centre has refused to reveal details of the ongoing selection process for four new Central Information Commissioners, despite a Supreme Court order directing it to do so. The only information disclosed is that 256 people have applied for the four vacant positions, which were advertised five months ago.
In its reply to a Right to Information request, the Department of Personnel and Training claimed that the search committee’s deliberations are exempted under the clause in the RTI Act allowing an exemption for cabinet papers.
“The government has failed to fill the posts of Information Commissioners in a timely and transparent manner, even ignoring the Supreme Court order,” said Commodore Lokesh Batra (Retd.), who had filed the RTI request.
He had asked for information on the number and names of the applicants for the vacant positions, adding that personal data on the applicants was not required. He requested information on the procedure and criteria being applied for processing applicants and placing the names before the search/selection committee. He also wanted to inspect the files concerned with the appointment and asked for a list of files about the processing of candidates.
In its reply, the DoPT said 256 people had applied in response to its advertisement dated January 4, 2019, but refused to disclose their names or to open its files for inspection. “The information relating is exempted under Section 8(1)(i) of the RTI Act, 2005. Since the information in the file would be placed before the Committee of Secretaries and the process of selection of candidates is yet to be completed, it would not be conducive to allow inspection of files.”
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