LE Desk

New Delhi, July 8, 2021: The Supreme Court has directed the Central government to file a compliance report on its 2019 verdict on time-bound appointments of Information Commissioners at the Centre and states, and filling of vacancies and pendency of cases in the Central Information Commission (CIC) under the Right to Information Act. 

A bench headed by Justice S Abdul Nazeer said that the Centre and states will have to give within four weeks the details of the vacancies at CIC and State Information Commissions (SICs) as well as the steps taken to fill the posts.

The Bench, also comprising Justice Krishna Murari, was on Wednesday hearing submissions made by advocate Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for activist Anjali Bhardwaj.

Bhushan claimed that appointments to the CIC have been made in an opaque manner despite a specific direction from the court in 2019 that the appointment process should be transparent and has to be put in the public domain. 

He referred to the dissent note of the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, a member of the Selection Committee comprising the Prime Minister and the Home Minister, on the recommendations made by the Search Committee.

“It is shocking that the dissent note was not put on record… nothing has been placed on record. This court had directed in 2019 that the criteria for selection should be formulated and made public,” Bhushan submitted.

Additional Solicitor General Madhavi Divan said the government has fully complied with the Supreme Court direction and had filed a compliance-cum-status report on April 24 last year. 

The bench, however, said, “More than a year has passed since your report … Let us know the latest position and then we will take a call”.

The court also directed the states to also file status reports on the appointments, vacancies and pendency in their respective information commissions.

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