‘Advani vetoed former DGP’s name as central info commissioner’

Top BJP leader L K Advani vetoed former Gujarat DGP R B Sreekumar's name for the post of information commissioner in the Central Information Commission in August 2008, former information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi has claimed.

Gandhi, who made these remarks while delivering a lecture at IIM-Ahmedabad Friday, said this led to his own appointment as information commissioner in the apex information panel.

The former information commissioner later told The Indian Express that he came to know of this through an RTI query filed by an activist known to him. He said a list had then been prepared of potential candidates to be appointed as commissioners (the Chief Information Commissioner had already been appointed), and the then Union Minister of State Prithviraj Chauhan had forwarded a copy of the list to the then Leader of Opposition L K Advani the night before the committee was to meet to decide the names.

"The fourth name on the list was R B Sreekumar," Gandhi said. "Mr Advani saw Sreekumar's name in the list and was not happy. He insisted his name be removed and to make it a principled opposition, he proposed that someone from civil society be appointed instead."

After using his own case as an example, Gandhi said, "This randomness is a serious problem."

The former information commissioner also slammed the lack of transparency in the judicial appointments, blaming it for backlog of cases and "arbitrariness" in the time taken to dispose of cases.

"Our judges and all kinds of commissioners are selected by a completely opaque process. This is a completely crazy country. The only country in the world where judges select themselves is India," Gandhi said.

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