Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Transparent appointment of Information Commissioners and other updates

Right now, I am working on Transparent Appointment of Information Commissioners in Tamil Nadu. In this direction, as a first step I have drafted a letter to be sent to the Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu and the Secretary of P&AR department, asking them to hold a public consultation to decide on a procedure for appointment of Information Commissioners. The letter can be seen here.

Another important development is that I have scheduled a meeting with the Secretary of DoPT, Government of India on friday (12th Feb 2010). I had fixed this up on behalf of the group that had previously filed the PIL in Delhi HC seeking transparent appointments in CIC. We are in the process of drafting a memorandum and demanding a time bound response from them. So I will be travelling to Delhi this weekend to be a part of this meeting.

Regarding the assets disclosure of IAS and IPS officers, the Judge had earlier reserved her judgment in this case in Dec. Now after reminding her, she passed a judgment dismissing the writ. The order, a copy of which is not in our hands yet, but the lawyer was allowed to look at the order in the court itself, essentially reiterates what the SIC has said. But we had also enclosed CIC decisions where assets disclosure of IAS and IPS officers were allowed. To this, the Judge mentioned in the judgment that "though the lawyer referred to the decisions of CIC copies of these were not produced", whereas, the initial set of documents enclosed along with the affidavit itself contained copies of not one but two CIC decisions. It was such a stupid statement to make. Even assuming that the docs were missing, (which is not the case anyway) it is the Judge's duty to ask for copies and ensure that a fair judgment is passed. I wonder how she can ignore those important CIC decisions when passing such a judgment. Krishananth said that it will make it all the more easy to challenge the decision in a bench. We are waiting for a copy of the order, for us to file an appeal.

As for the DVAC order in our favour, I am yet to get information from DVAC. The two weeks time given by the judge will be over with this week. But Krishnananth, has meanwhile filed a caveat, which would mean that if the DVAC goes on appeal to a division bench, then the bench wont hear the case or order a stay without giving us notice. This would help us put our arguments forward even before the division bench considers granting an interim stay.

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