Chief Information Commissioner Current Affairs - 2019
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The government has proposed setting up bureaucrat-led committees that would sit and decide on complaints against the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioners (ICs).
The government has proposed setting up of two committees:
- One to receive and decide on complaints against the CIC. The committee would include the Cabinet Secretary; Secretary, DoPT; and a retired CIC.
- Second one for complaints against Information Commissioners. The committee would comprise of Secretary (Coordination) in the Cabinet Secretariat; Secretary, DoPT; and a retired IC.
Why the move is opposed?
Section 14 (1) of the RTI Act states that Commissioners can be removed only by the President on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity based on the reference made to the Supreme Court by the President.
Further Section 14 (3) lists the other grounds for removal which includes:
- If he/she is adjudged an insolvent,
- Has been convicted of an offence which involves moral turpitude.
- Engages during his/her term of office in any paid employment outside.
- Is unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body; or
- Has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions as the CIC or an IC.
The bureaucrat dominated committee proposed by the government is seen as an attempt to skew checks and balances in favour of the political executive. The committee is also criticised as an attempt by the political dispensation to influence the working of the ICs and it will take away the independence of an institution that has served the citizen’s demand for more transparency in the government by making the Commission more vulnerable to government pressure.
Former IAS officer Jawed Usmani took oath as Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) of Uttar Pradesh (UP).
He was administered oath to office by Governor of UP Ram Naik at a function at Raj Bhawan in Lucknow.
He was sworn-in to office after he had taken voluntary retirement as Chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Board of Revenue.
Jawed Usmani was appointed as UP CIC in November 2014. But during this appointment, he was the chairman of Uttar Pradesh Board of Revenue.
He was able to take over as state CIC as Right to Information Act, 2005 has provision mentioning that any person while he/she is in government service cannot be can be appointed to this statutory post.
About Jawed Usmani
- Jawed Usmani is a 1978 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer.
- He holds MBA degree from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad and MSc degree in Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics.
- Earlier, he had served as secretary in Union coal ministry and also as joint secretary to the several Prime Ministers including H D Deve Gowda, I K Gujral and Atal Bihari Vajpayee from 1996 to 2001.
- He also had served as joint secretary of then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh between 2004 and 2007
- He was a senior advisor to the Executive Director at the World Bank in Washington DC and Minister of Economic Cooperation at the Embassy of India in Nepal.
- In 2012, he had served as Chief Secretary in Uttar Pradesh.