150 serving, retd bureaucrats in race for CIC posts
While Chief Information Commissioner Satyanand Mishra and Information Commissioner M L Sharma are due to retire in September and Information Commissioner Deepak Sandhu in December, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has already received as many as 422 applications for Central Information Commission posts — including at least 150 from serving and retired bureaucrats.
Among those who have applied are: P K Mishra, who retired as DoPT secretary on June 30; Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Secretary Arun Kumar Mishra, who is set to retire in February; Uday Verma, who retired as I&B secretary on June 30; Deshdeepak Verma, who retired as parliamentary affairs secretary on June 30; Steel Secretary D R S Chaudhary, who is set to retire on August 31; D R Meena, who retired as law secretary on April 30, 2012; and Law Secretary B A Agarwal, who is set to retire on April 30 next year.
RTI activists Subhash Agarwal from Delhi and C J Karira from Hyderabad are among the applicants. There are around 50 applications from the legal field — none from serving or retired judges of the Supreme Court or high courts, 20 from civil society, 120 from professionals and 40 with "media background".
A screening committee headed by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth will shortlist the applications and forward the names to the selection panel comprising the Prime Minister, Law Minister and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha.
At present, there are six information commissioners besides Mishra. Information Commissioners Rajiv Mathur and Sushma Singh are also set to retire next year. The RTI Act has provision for the appointment of 10 information commissioners besides the chief information commissioner. Mishra has asked the government to fast-track the appointments so that the new officials can take part in the annual RTI conference on September 2-4.