शुक्रवार, 31 जुलाई 2015

RTI opens up flood-gate of conspiracy in appointment of OIC

RTI opens up flood-gate of conspiracy hatched to ensure  arbitrary appointment by Govt. of Odisha in the appointment for the post of State Information Commissioner

After long battle of 3 months with State bureaucracy, the Information and  Public Relation Department, Govt. of Odisha, the Nodal Department for implementation of RTI Act in Odisha  was forced to disclose  the information  about details of  procedure followed (?) for   selection  and appointment  in the post of SIC of Odisha. The chronological  of the events led  to  disclosure  of the information  which brought to limelight  the  arbitrary appointment  is  presented  below for the readers’ reference.

1.  On 18.5.15, RTI Application was submitted to the PIO, Department of Information and Public Relations seeking information about procedure followed for the said post. The details of information sought and the information provided by the PIO is as follows.
Information Sought for
Information  supplied by the PIO
Provide information about   whether the State Govt. has developed any written procedure for appointment in the post of Chairman and Members of Odisha Information Commission. If yes, please provide copy of it.
No information  supplied
There is no written procedure with Govt. for selection of the candidates for the post of Information commissioner. That’s why the selection is arbitrary and politically motivated.
Provide information about details of  procedure followed for issuing advertisement to  nominating  candidates to the  post of  Chairman and Members of Odisha Information Commission.

File noting supplied

Provide list of Candidates applied for the post of Chairman and Members of Odisha Information Commission following the advertisement
 list of  Candidates was not supplied
This information was kept in secret. It shows the ulterior motive of Odisha bureaucracy.
Provide  information about details of criteria taken up  for  shortlising candidates  for the post of  Chairman and Members of Odisha Information Commission which was presented to the selection Committee and name of the shortlisted candidates.
Information provided

Provide details of reason / justification behind rejecting the candidature  of the applicants applied for the post of   Members of Odisha Information Commission ( information to be provided candidature-wise)
No information supplied.
As because the information was arbitrary and pre-designed. This information is not available with the PIO.
Provide name of the Scrutiny Committee    assigned  to scrutinize the application and copy of the proceedings of that committee, if any
Information supplied

Provide information about  the criteria taken up  or the procedure followed for scrutinizing  the application of the applicants.
Information provided

Provide copy of the proceedings of the selection Committee meeting held twice for nominating the name for the post of Chairman and Members of Odisha Information Commission
 Copy of proceedings of one selection committee headed by Chairman-cum- Chief Minister, Odisha  meeting   held on 16.5.14  was provided.
Copy of the proceeding of first selection Committee held on 30.4.15 was not provided. It needs to be mentioned here that Sri Narasingha Mishra, leader of Opposition who is the member of the selection Committee left the meeting with objection.
. Provide information about the views of the opposition leader or dissenting note, if any given by the opposition leader as member of the selection Committee.
Information supplied
Sri Narasigha Mishra said the shortlisted  persons are not persons  of eminence  in public life  as defined  in Paragraph-99  of the judgement  of Hon’ble Supreme Court  and therefore  they are not  eligible to be appointed.
Provide copy of the file noting starting from the process of issuing advertisement to finalization of candidates for the post of Chairman ad Members of Odisha Information Commission in the selection committee.
Information supplied

Provide copy of the letter sent to Governor, Odisha proposing the name of two candidates   for appointment in the post of Chairman and Members of Odisha Information Commission

No information supplied.

2.     Critical Comments

A. Total number  of 44 candidates  applied  for the post  of  State  Information Commissioner.
B. While analysing  the proceedings of the High-level Scrutiny Committee  headed by Sri U.N. Behera, Development Commissioner with members, Principal Secretary, Dept. of  Law and Principal Secretary, Dept. of General Administration, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, I and PR Dept. as Member Convener ,  It  was found that  the Committee had taken up  three criteria  for the  selection of Candidates  i.e., minimum age of 45 years, at least 20 years of experience and eminence in public life  catering to mandatory  provisions as envisaged  in the section 15 (5) of the RTI Act.  Keeping  these criteria in view , the Committee after  considering the details of  the applicants, their educational qualification, eminence ad experience  shortlisted  6 candidates  for the post of  Information Commissioner.  But in interestingly, there is no justification cited by the Committee about rejection of   application of other candidates, though they fulfil these criteria. 

C.  Fearing that arbitrary procedure    followed by the Scrutiny committee which may be exposed, the PIO has not provided any information about details of candidates who have applied for the post of the Information ( except shortlisted candidates).  This is true character of Odisha Government which falsely projects as a transparent Government.  

D. The Committee should have given justification   against each candidate in respect of their eligibility for which only 6 candidates were eligible for being shortlisted for the said post.

E.  Similarly, the proceedings of the  selection  Committee  headed by Chief Miister  has  not given any justification / reason why the  four out of 6 shortlisted candidates  were not eligible  for the post of State Information Commissioner.  They are also prominent and eminent figure in Odisha. These  four shortlisted  candidates are  as follows

Ms. Sanghamitra Mohanty
Post Graduate  Degree  in Science, Ph.D and bachelor  of Law, Director of School of Women’s studies, Vice Chancellor of North Odisha University, Baripada, Developed technologies  and tools  to deal with Odia language which are included  in 13  Intellectual Property Rights,  recipient of Samanta  Chandra Sekhar Award from Odisha Bigyan academy, Govt. of Odisha and having 36 years  of vast experience  and eminence  in research field.
Sri Devaraj Raut
B.SC. Degree with LLB. He served  as Principal Secretary to Law Dept., Special Officer ( Administration), Odisha High Court,  Addl. District and Session Judge, Fast Track Court, Registrar ( Judicial), Odisha High Court, Special Judge, CBI, having 32 years of experience  in the field of administration and justice.
Sri Hrushikesh Tripathy
Post-graduate degree  with Bachelor of Law, Holds  various important post in Govt. as  Special secretary, Water Resoures,  Secretary, Dept. of Sports  and Youth Affairs,  covered wide range of subjects  like Revenue,  Panchayati Raj, Rural Development etc.
Sri Janardhan Diwakar Sharma
Msc. Degree, LLB and also MSC in Forestry having 37 years experience as a Indian Forest service Officer. He was Principal  Chief Conservator of Forest , Deputy Inspector of General , Ministry of Rural Development, Govt. of India

 So, earlier allegation of arbitrary appointment without following any transparent procedure was proved true. The procedure followed was just eye-wash exercise and sheer deception.  The appointment made by the Govt. is pre-designed, pre-fixed and politically motivated.  

Pradip Pradhan

Date- 31.7.15 

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