Jabalpur: The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) and Madhya Pradesh Government have been asked to submit their response within four weeks by the High Court here on a PIL challenging selection process for state Chief Information Commissioners and Information Commissioners.

A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Sushil Harkoli and Justice Alok Aradhe has also directed that "any appointments made by the government to the posts of State Information Commissioners shall be subject to the final decision of this court."

Social activist Ajay Dubey and former MP Director General of Police DGP Arun Gurtoo have through their petition challenged the ongoing appointment process as it was allegedly effected without any public notice, advertisement or any transparent open process of selection or without inviting applications.
There is one post of CIC and ten posts of information commissioners in the Madhya Pradesh Information Commission. Of these, only one information commissioner is working in the state transparency watchdog.

"There are many irregularities in the process being opted by the state government for the selection of information commissioners and the chief of SIC. We want the court to take note of it and issue fresh instruction to the state government," Dubey said.

He has also challenged the provisions mentioned in the Section 15 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 for the selection of SIC and ICs.

"The State Chief Information Commissioner and the State Information Commissioners shall be appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of a committee consisting of — the Chief Minister, who shall be the Chairperson of the committee, the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly; and a Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the Chief Minister," according to Section 15 (3) of the transparency law.

Whereas Section 15 (5) of the Act says that "the State Chief Information Commissioner and the State 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 court has asked the DoPT and the MP Government to give their replies within four weeks on the PIL," advocate Siddharth Gupta, who is representing the petitioners, said.


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