The Punjab & Haryana High Court yesterday issued notice to Haryana Government in a petition seeking immediate stay selection process of Information Commissioners under the Right to Information Act (RTI).
The petition was filed by Pradeep Kumar Rapria, an advocate ,contending that “here was arbitrariness, opaqueness and vagueness in the criteria for the search and selection of the State Information Commissioners, culminating into the violation of Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution”.
On December 13, the Court had issued notice to Haryana Government. The Government filed a reply after that, has constituted a Search Committee to recommend candidates for the consideration of Selection Committee consisting of Chief Minister, Leader of Opposition and another cabinet minister.
After this reply, the petitioner field an application for interim stay of selection process, stating that the reply of the government substantiated his allegations of complete opaqueness and arbitrariness in the appointment of information commissioners. He stated in the application that the reply reflected the arbitrary and absolute discretion conferred on the Search Committee, so much so, that the job of the Selection Committee is also performed by the ‘Search Committee’ and there is no certainty in the principles while arriving at the procedure and criterion adopted by the Search Committee.
The Government response stated that “the search committee shall devise its own principles while arriving at the procedure and criterion adopted by it while making suitable recommendations”. It further stated that there would be “no requirement” to adopt a fixed set of principles and procedure to be adopted and “the Search Committee in its own wisdom may fix and/or vary the said principles, procedure and criteria at any time”.
Based on this, the petitioner filed the stay application, stating that the search committee was acting without any objective criteria.”The appointments on the public posts are made by the State as a trustee of the citizens. The pay and perks to the Information Commissioners from the State Exchequer amounts to conferment of State Largesse and State can’t give largesse to any person according to the sweet will and whim of the political entities and/or officers of the state”, he said in the petition.