<SMALL>PUDUCHERRY: The State Chief Information Commission (SCIC) in Puducherry, headed by C S Khairwal, was abolished by the Territorial Administration on July 31 on the orders of the Lieutenant Governor.

This comes in the wake of a direction from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Chief Secretary Pradip Mehra told this website’s newspaper.

According to legal experts, Union Territories cannot have a State Chief Information Commission and therefore the Territorial Administration does not have any power to open the office or appoint a commissioner.

The commission, which came into existence on October 6, 2005, through orders passed by the then Lieutenent Governor M M Lakhera, is therefore illegal.

Khairwal, the then chief secretary, was given additional charge as the State Chief Information Commissioner (SCIC).

After superannuating from the post of Chief Secretary, he was appointed on a regular basis as the SCIC on August 31, 2006.

As per the order, the appeals and petitions pending before the SCIC, Puducherry, will be transferred to the Central Information Commission in New Delhi.

The abolition of the SCIC will not affect the legality of the orders passed and the decisions taken by it on the appeal petitions already disposed of.

With the office having been closed down, all its staff have been asked to report to the Joint Secretary, Department of Administrative Reforms, who will allot postings to them. According to officials, being a Union Territory, Puducherry can have only a sub-office.

The Ministry may allow the Puducherry government to open a sub-office and post an officer in-charge to enable citizens to file appeals. However, the government is waiting for directions from the MHA.
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