Information Commission becomes headless

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Srinagar: After State Human Rights Commission and State Consumer Disputes Commission, Jammu and Kashmir State Information Commission has also become headless as the first ever Chief Information Commissioner GR Sofi completed his tenure on February 29, 2016.

The post of one State Information Commissioner out of two was already vacant. Dr SK Sharma one of the Information Officers had demitted the office in October last year while another Information Commissioner Nazir Ahmed is going to retire after six months. RTI activist Dr Muzaffar Ahmed Bhat told CNS it will be extremely difficult for the Commission to function without its head. He said that Jammu and Kashmir State Information Commission despite working in adverse conditions played crucial role in bringing transparency in the functioning of various organs of the State. “The Act is silent over the appointment of new head in time. It needs the approval of Chief Minister, leader of the opposition party and a Cabinet Minister to get the head of any Commission appointed. In absence of the Government, Governor can issue an ordinance to continue the services of GR Sofi,” he said adding that in absence of the CIC, the Commission wouldn’t be able to exercise administrative as well as financial powers to ensure its smooth day-to-day functioning,” said an official.

As per Section 12 of the J&K Right to Information Act, the general superintendence, direction and management of the State Information Commission vests in the State Chief Information Commissioner and he is to be assisted by the two State Information Commissioners.

Chief Information Commissioner, G R Sufi had assumed the office on March 1, 2011 and as per the Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act, he is completed his five year tenure on February 29.

Now, the three-member Commission is headless as previous PDP-BJP Coalition Government didn’t set any process in motion to fill the vacant post. (CNS)

 

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