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‘Govt tweaking norms for key appointments’

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While it is a major setback for the State government when the AP High Court on Thursday set aside the appointment of four Information Commissioners, it is a moral victory for those fighting for Good Governance. According to one of the petitioners, M Padmanabha Reddy, secretary Forum for Good Governance, the appointment of four Information Commissioners V Venkateswarulu, Lam.

M Padmanabha Reddy, one of the petitioners in the case against the ICs also alleged that the State government has been systematically damaging the institutions of utmost importance by appointing people against the norms

Hyderabad: While it is a major setback for the State government when the AP High Court on Thursday set aside the appointment of four Information Commissioners, it is a moral victory for those fighting for Good Governance. According to one of the petitioners, M Padmanabha Reddy, secretary Forum for Good Governance, the appointment of four Information Commissioners V Venkateswarulu, Lam.

Thantiya Kumari, Imitiaz Ahmed and M Vijaya Nirmala was against the specifications prescribed in Sec 12(5) of RTI Act. In a statement issued here, he said those who are appointed as Information Commissioners should be persons with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance.

Anyone who holds posts like MP, MLA or any other office of profit or if he or she was connected with any political party or carrying on any business or pursuing any profession was not eligible for appointment as RTI commissioners and they attract disqualification under Sec 12 (6) of the Act, he informed. Even the Leader of Opposition had disagreed with the selection, he said.He said the Forum for Good Governance raised the issue when the file was sent to the Governor for approval of four persons’ appointment.

The Governor who saw the merits in their arguments rejected the file and sent it back to the Government for reconsideration. The Committee had met for the second time after a gap of few months in the absence of the Leader of Opposition and recommended the same names and the Governor had to give his nod. Reddy said the representatives of civil societies felt that the appointment was blatant misuse of power by the State government. To undo the injustice he along with former Union Home Secretary K Padmanabaiah, social activist Rao Chelikani filed a PIL in the AP High Court.

Reddy further alleged that the State government has been systematically damaging the institutions of utmost importance by appointing people against the norms. He said the appointment of Public Service Commission members was one such example. He said there were also rumours that the posts of Vice Chancellor were for sale. He said this sort of appointments would shatter the image of the institutions and the social cost of such trust deficit will take long time to repair.

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