Former Defence Secretary R K Mathur was appointed Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) on Friday, breaking away from the convention of appointing the head from among the serving Information Commissioners.The appointment followed a day after a bench of Supreme Court judges censured the government, asked it to fill up the vancancies of CIC and information commissioners, or produce the record that no one was found eligible.
Despite the appointment of CIC, the government is yet to fill up the three vacancies of information commissioners. It has time till January 4, 2016 to follow the SC directive in this regard.
The post of CIC had fallen vacant after Vijai Sharma completed his tenure on December 1.
Mathur will have tenure of about three years till he attains the age of 65 years.
The 62-year old Mathur, who did his graduation from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and post graduation from IIT, Delhi, has held various positions in his cadre state Tripura and at the Centre.
He had been Secretary in Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, and Defence Production and Supplies.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led selection committee, which has Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and leader of Congress Party in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjuna Kharge, as its members, is said to have on Wednesday finalised Mathur’s name, but refrained from announcing his name for reasons best to the committee.
May it be noted that the Central Information Commission had been headless twice since the BJP government came into power in 2014.Earlier, it was without a chief for nearly 10 months after completion of the tenure of the then Chief Information Commissioner Rajiv Mathur in August 2014. Consequently, more than 33,000 complaints and appeals have piled up in the commission.
At present, there are seven Information Commissioners– Basant Seth, Yashovardhan Azad, Sharat Sabharwal, Manjula Prasher, M A Khan Yusufi, Madabhushanam Sridhar Acharyulu and Sudhir Bhargava.As per convention, the senior most Information Commissioner is chosen as chief. Presently, Seth is the senior-most Information Commissioner.