By: FPJ Web Desk | November 06, 2023
Heeralal Samariya, a seasoned Information Officer with a distinguished career, has taken the helm as the Chief of the Central Information Commission (CIC), marking a historic moment as the first Dalit individual to assume this prestigious position. President Draupadi Murmu administered the oath of office to Samariya during a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Born on September 14, 1960, in the remote village of Pahadi in Rajasthan's Bharatpur District, Heeralal Samariya pursued a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering with honors from Rajasthan University.
His impressive career in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) includes serving as a collector in Karimnagar and Guntur, along with a stint as the Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
He has also held various critical roles, such as Commissioner in the Commercial Tax Department in Telangana, Commissioner of the Environment Department in Andhra Pradesh, and Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Chemical and Fertilizers, among others.
Samariya's appointment comes following a period of vacancy at the helm of the CIC, after the conclusion of YK Sinha's term on October 3.
This development aligns with a directive from the Supreme Court on October 30, urging both the Central and State governments to address the vacant positions within the Central Information Commission and State Information Commissions (SICs).
The Court, presided over by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, emphasized the importance of filling these positions to ensure the effective implementation of the 2005 Right to Information (RTI) Act, warning that the legislation could become obsolete if these vacancies remained unaddressed.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has been tasked with gathering essential data from all States, including information on the sanctioned strength of SICs, the current vacancies, and the number of pending cases.
The Central Information Commission, established on October 12, 2005, under the Right to Information Act, 2005, plays a pivotal role in various functions, including adjudicating second appeals for information, issuing directives for record-keeping, facilitating suo motu disclosures, investigating complaints of RTI non-compliance, imposing penalties, and monitoring and reporting, including the preparation of an annual report.
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