Mumbai: The Maharashtra government would appoint new Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) within four weeks, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today told the Legislative Council.
Raising the issue through a Point of Propriety, Congress member Sanjay Dutt said the assurance given by the chief minister on appointing the new CIC during the winter session held in Nagpur in December last, has remained unfulfilled. Dutt said non-appointment of CIC was adversely affecting the people’s right of filing RTI (Right to Information) applications and that more than 50,000 RTI appeals are pending in the state.
The post of CIC is vacant since Ratnakar Gaikwad retired in May last year after completing his five year term. In his reply, Fadnavis said, “New CIC will be appointed within four weeks or even before that”.
Dutt also drew the CM’s attention to Mumbai municipal commissioner declaring ‘Praja Foundation’, a voluntary organisation, and their representatives as “persona non grata” and debarring them from receiving any information under the RTI Act and questioned the scope of the civic chief’s powers.
Dutt said such an order is illegal and a blatant violation of the RTI act. “Today Mumbai commissioner has done it. If it is not stopped, tomorrow others will follow. Hence corrective action needs to be taken urgently to protect the RTI Act from being so blatantly violated,” Dutt said.
Fadnavis said he would call for details of the matter and ensure that appropriate action is taken as per the RTI Act. Dutt also demanded the government departments display all RTI requests and their responses on their websites, as mandated by section 4 of the RTI Act. He said Department of Personnel and Training, Ministry of Personnel, has issued a Government Resolution (GR) in this regard.
The CM said the state government would endeavour to implement the guidelines of the DOPT and the state government on the matter. Meanwhile, former central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi told PTI the new appointment is delayed. “The government knew the date of his (Gaikwad’s) retirement from the day he was appointed. This (new) appointment is delayed,” he said.