Information Commission appointments today

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A high-level selection panel headed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is scheduled to meet in Jammu on Tuesday to decide on the appointment of Chief Information Commissioner and two Information Commissioners.

Sources told that the panel would meet Tuesday evening to fill vacancies in the State Information Commission which is lying defunct over the past four months.

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh are also part of the selection panel.

Under J&K RTI Act 2009, Chief Minister, leader of the largest opposition party in the Assembly and a senior cabinet member to be nominated by CM constitute the selection committee.

The CIC and ICs are appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the selection panel.

The State Information Commission became defunct on November 17, 2016, when its last member Nazir Ahmad completed his 5-year term.

It became headless on February 27, 2016, with completion of the 5-year term by Chief Information Commissioner GR Sufi. Another member of the Commission, Dr SK Sharma, had already completed his term on October 31, 2015.

Set up during the previous NC-Congress rule, the transparency panel, in the last five years, enforced its writ and did not hesitate to summon State’s who’s who to facilitate implementation of the RTI law.

Former Chief Information Commissioner GR Sufi said the selection panel must ensure constitution of a credible and people-friendly Commission.

“The CIC and ICs must have enough executive and administrative experience because the second party before the commission is State’s public authority. A CIC or ICs with administrative experiences and niceties can in a better way establish the writ of the commission and ensure implementation of the law,” he said.

He said the officers who have mental barrier against transparency obviously were not suited for the job.

“Those who have perfected the art of secrecy are not fit for the job. They (CIC and ICs) should be public-friendly,” he said.

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