Srinagar, Aug 25: Selection panel for the appointment of two Information Commissioners for the State Information Commission is scheduled to meet here on September 5.
Official sources said the General Administration Department has fixed the meeting after seeking consent from all the panel members, including Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Leader of Opposition Mehbooba Mufti and a cabinet minister nominated by the Chief Minister.
It has been reliably learnt that an academic from Jammu and an engineer from the Valley are in the consideration zone for the positions of Information Commissioners.
Earlier the meeting was fixed for July 18. It was, however, postponed in the wake of reports that consensus eluded the coalition partners over the names being considered as Information Commissioners. It has been reliably learnt that the Congress-NC coordination committee would meet on Saturday to discuss the appointment of Information Commissioners.
Pertinently the government recommended GR Sufi as the first Chief Information Commissioner in January this year. Immediately after, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah went on record saying that the two Commissioners “would be appointed before the start of the Budget Session in Jammu.” While the session ended many months back, the state government is yet to keep its word.
As per the RTI Act, the Information Commissioners “shall be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance.
The Chief Information Commissioner, GR Sufi, has already stated that he was overburdened in absence of Information Commissioners. “This time I have to single-handedly conduct the entire business of the SIC and shuttle between Srinagar, Jammu and Leh. I many times made a passionate appeal to the state government to constitute the full commission and fulfil the mandate of the legislature. But sadly, nothing has been done so far,” he had said.
For the past few months, Sufi has been literally roaming from pillar to post with the plea for appointing two commissioners. He has met Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, shot letters to his office, Governor NN Vohra, Leader of Opposition Mehbooba Mufti and a host of other politicians. But while the response has been ‘positive’, the action has been little.
“The law is picking up in the state. So it becomes mandatory to have the full commission to ensure its effective implementation,” Sufi said.