SIC ‘virtually defunct’ as govt ‘forgets’ appointing members

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Srinagar: State Information Commission (SIC), an appellate body to enforce right to information and ensure compliance of State Right to Information Act, continues to remain virtually defunct, as the commission besides being headless is also without the two member commissioners.

The commission is a three-member autonomous body headed by chief information commissioner (CIC) with two other commissioners. SIC is presently functioning without any officer bearers, as all of them completed their term earlier and the state government so far failed to appoint new members and the CIC.

The ‘undue delay’ in appointment of new SIC and other two members have left the commission completely defunct. The former CIC, GR Sufi, completed his term on February 29, while the post of one State Information Commissioner was already vacant.

The need to appoint new CIC and other two commissioners, according to RTI activists, is need of the hour so that people could use RTI Act effectively.

“After retirement of State Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) G R Sufi and other two members, State Information Commission (SIC) has become defunct and this is creating a big hurdle for implementation of RTI Act. Lots of cases are pending before Information Commission. We appeal Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for her immediate intervention so that these vacancies are filled as soon as possible,” said Raja Muzafar Bhat, a noted RTI activist.

“Under the provisions of J&K RTI Act 2009 the Information Commissioners and Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) can only be appointed by the Governor when the selection committee consisting of CM , Leader of Opposition and one cabinet minister nominated by CM recommends the suitable candidate. The government must initiative the process immediately.”

“It is very sad that the elected government could not short list the names of probable Information Commissioners after Dr S K Sharma retired in October 2015. They had almost three months until death of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Syed to appoint new Information Commissioner. But now we demand immediate appointment of these posts “said an RTI activist.

Presently, the SIC has no Commissioner. In absence of CIC and other two members, the SIC has become completely defunct.

“The delay in appointment of new members to SIC has discouraged information seekers and encouraged corrupt officials to deny information to applicants on one pretext or another,” said a group of RTI activities.

“The fact is that the act is dying its silent death due to official apathy,” they added. (KNS)

 

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