NCPRI alleges bid to torpedo info panel

State failed twice to honour HC deadline
Thiruvananthapuram: National Commission for the Protection of Right to Information (NCPRI) led by Magsaysay award winner Aruna Roy suspects that the state government is attempting to undermine the State Information Commission for petty political gains.
The state has failed twice to honour the deadline set by the High Court to furnish a status report on the appointment of information commissioners, and has now sought more time.
At the moment, the SIC is virtually deserted. With the retirement of information commissioner N Sasikumar, the SIC has shrunk into a single-member body, with only the Chief Information Commissioner, Mr Sibi Mathews, in service.
Dr Kurias Kumbalakuzhy and M N Gunavardhanan had retired in March and April this year. Another IC, Soni B Thengamam, demitted office on August 10 this year. K Natarajan was suspended from the post on November 9, 2012.
It was in June this year that NCPRI had filed a writ petition in the High Court. The court had directed the Government to file a statement within 15 days. The government instead sought 15 days time. When even this deadline expired, the State sought time till October 30.
This too was breached on the grounds that the state was in the midst of local body polls. Now, the High Court has asked the state to file the status report before November 23.
NCPRI activists find this intriguing. “The High-Powered committee comprising the Chief Minister, industries minister and the opposition leader was constituted as early as March 19, 2015,” said M T Thomas, NCPRI member. “This clearly shows the ulterior motive of the state to flout the selection process for petty political considerations,” he added.
He said that statements made by various political leaders of the ruling front smacked of a sinister design.
“Since the matter is pending before the HC, the government is trying to get our WP dismissed and resort to the usual practice of appointment of ICs on political considerations,” Mr Thomas said. He said that earlier commissioners like Sony Thengamom and C S Sasikumar were political appointees.

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( Source : deccan chronicle )
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