CIC vacancies must be filled in 6 weeks: HC

With the Central Information Commission facing a huge number of pending cases, the Delhi High Court on Friday directed the union government to finalise the selection of three central information commissioners within six weeks.

"The selection process that has already been commenced vide notifications dated February 25, 2014, and July 16, 2014, shall be finalised within six weeks from today (Friday) and the three vacancies of information commissioners existing as of today shall be filled up from amongst the 553 applications received in reference of the said two notifications," a division bench of Chief Justices G Rohini and R S Endlaw said.

"The selection process pursuant to the circular dated September  9, 2015, shall be confined for selection and appointment of the Chief Information Commissioner in the vacancy that would arise with effect from December 2, 2015, and one information commissioner which is likely to arise with effect from December 2, 2015.

"The tenure of Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Vijai Sharma will be completed on December 1, 2015, and in case one of the serving information commissioners is appointed as the CIC in the vacancy that would arise from December 2, one more vacancy of the IC is likely to arise," said the bench.

The court order came on a public suit filed by Right to Information activists R K Jain, Lokesh Batra and Subhash Chandra Agarwal.

The petitioners contended that the Central Information Commission was created as a statutory body to decide appeals and complaints against public authorities for non-compliance of the RTI Act.

The commission's proper functioning was essential for the proper implementation of the RTI Act, argued Prashant Bhushan, counsel for the petitioners. He said the government had attempted to stifle the functioning of the transparency law by failing to do its statutory duty to make appointments.