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'Serving info commissioners were ignored for CIC post'

Serving info commissioners were ignored for CIC post
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New Delhi: The search committee for selection of Chief Information Commissioner did not short-list two senior Information Commissioners who had applied for the position and brought in four others who

did not show interest in the post, documents made public by the government show.

The search committee led by the Cabinet Secretary had finalised five names to be put before the selection panel, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and comprising Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.

The Cabinet Secretary headed the six-member search committee and included the Secretaries of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), Expenditure Department, Information and Broadcasting Department, and Additional Secretary to the Prime Minister.

The Director of the Institute of Economic Growth was the independent member.

Interestingly, the Secretary of the Department of Expenditure declared that he had applied for the post of Information Commissioner but after consultations with the PMO, he was retained on the search committee, the records show.

The government issued the advertisement calling for applications for the position of the Chief Information Commissioner on October 23, 2018, on the DoPT website.

All the three Commissioners in the Central Information Commission -Sudhir Bhargava, Bimal Julka and Divya Prakash Sinha - were among 68 applicants for the post.

The panel led by the Cabinet Secretary did not consider the names of Julka and Sinha to be put in the list of five short-listed candidates, the documents show.

It short-listed five retired IAS officers - Bhargava, former MSME secretary Madhav Lal, former Additional Chief Secretary of Gujarat S K Nanda, former Secretary of Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances Alok Rawat and former Expenditure Secretary R P Watal - to be placed before the panel led by the Prime Minister.

Lal, Nanda, Rawat and Watal did not apply for the position, but the search committee considered their names, the records show.

The panel led by the Prime Minister, however, picked Bhargava for the post.( With PTI inputs)

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