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RTI activist flags delay in appointment of info commissioners

Former Central Information Commissioner and noted RTI activist Shailesh Gandhi has expressed concern over delay in filling of three vacancies of Information Commissioner in Maharashtra.

Two of these posts are vacant for the last two years, while the state has a huge pendency of 42,000 appeals under the Right to Information Act, he said in his letter a day ago.

There are a total of eight information commissioners in the state.

“It was very heartening to get a response from you (to an earlier letter) that the CM was seized of the matter….There does not appear to be any movement on this front in the last two months. If the CM gives an assurance, it should be implemented, lest it lose all meaning,” Gandhi said in latest missive to the Principal Secretary, Chief Minister’s Office.

Gandhi had first written to the CM about this in October.

Post of the information commissioner for Amaravati region is vacant for the last six months, while those for Aurangabad and Nashik regions are vacant for the last two years.

“As per the law, government can appoint as many as 11 commissioners, considering the influx and number of pendency of the cases, but Maharashtra government has so far preferred to appoint only maximum eight commissioners,” said Gandhi in a thread email conversation with Praveen Singh Pardeshi.

“This is why I have urged the Chief Minister to appoint at least five information commissioners against the vacancies of three, so that they can dispose of huge pendency of 42,000 (appellate) cases,” he said.

Gandhi, in his letter, also reminded that Union Government, at one point, had to appoint Central Information Commissioners following the court orders.

“That is not the way a democracy should function. With all humility I request the CM to give his attention to this matter. Please appoint five commissioners so that the RTI Act works meaningfully in our state,” he wrote.

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