Dilli Ka Babu: SC on excessive babu bias'

Apparently, the government decided to change the composition of the panel by including the additional secretary from the ministry.

The Supreme Court has questioned the propensity of the government to fill posts of information commissioners for the Central Information Commission (CIC) and state information commissions with mostly bureaucrats. It said the selection of information commissioners for the CIC and state ICs should include people of eminence from various fields and not be limited to bureaucrats, a “bias” which is “writ large” in the current selection process.

The court urged states to adopt the process adopted by the Centre in which it uploads on the website the names of the search committee, the names of candidates who have been shortlisted as well as the criteria followed for selection. It has now directed the Centre and eight states — West Bengal, Odisha, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Nagaland, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka — to fill up the vacancies within six months. It also urged that the process for filling up of a vacancy be initiated one to two months before the date on which the vacancy is likely to occur so that there is not much time lag between the occurrence of the vacancy and the filling up of the said vacancy.

The court further added that it would also be appropriate for the search committee to make the criteria for shortlisting the candidates public so that it is ensured that shortlisting is done based on objective and rational criteria.

The appointment of Dinkar Gupta as the director general of police, Punjab, comes after the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) sent a shortlist of three senior IPS officers to the Punjab government for appointment to the post. The other two names forwarded were DGP (administration) M.K. Tiwari and DGP (provisioning) V.K. Bhawra, both from the 1987 batch. Mr Gupta was the seniormost. This is the first time that such a shortlist has been created after the Supreme Court directed in January that states must select their police chiefs from a list of officers empanelled by the UPSC.

This was done to minimise political influence in the appointment of top cops in the states. According to the directions, states are required to inform the UPSC of an arising vacancy three months prior to the retirement of the sitting DGP. In addition, the chosen DGP is supposed to have a fixed tenure of no less than two years.

This is to ensure that the officers are not shuffled with changes in government. Although the Punjab government, along with some other states, had filed a plea to implement its own laws to appoint a DGP, the plea was dismissed. Interestingly, IPS officer, Mohammad Mustafa, claims he was ignored for the post of Punjab police chief despite fitting the criteria. So clearly, the last word hasn’t been heard yet.

muzzling the military
The delay in sending defence attaches abroad is yet another sign of the troubled relationship between the armed forces and the ministry of defence. According to sources, several key posts of military attaché, including in Washington, DC, and Oman, are lying vacant due to a dispute over the composition of the selection panel. Apparently, the government decided to change the composition of the panel by including the additional secretary from the ministry. So far the selection of defence attaches was entirely within the purview of the defence services.

So this latest order is being seen by the defence services as yet another attempt by the civilian bureaucracy to encroach on their turf. The government, however, is insisting that the change in the selection panel was recommended by a committee headed by former deputy national security adviser, Arvind Gupta.
Even as the ministry digs in its heels, sources say that the three service chiefs are now planning to meet with senior ministry officials to sort out the vexed issue at the earliest.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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