Statesman News Service
Hyderabad, 13 September
Right to Information activists in the state received a shot in the arms when the High Court set aside the appointment of four commissioners of information and directed the state government to make new appointments within six weeks.
A PIL had been filed in the High Court over the appointments which had violated the clauses of the Right To Information Act by former home secretary, Mr K Padmanabhaiah, Mr Rao Chelikani, a social activist and secretary of Forum for Good Governance, and Mr M Padmanabha Reddy, in February this year.
The state government  had appointed Mr V Vekateswaralu, Mrs Lam Thantiya Kumari, Mr Imtiaz Ahmed and Ms M Vijaya Nirmala as information commissioners violating the clause of the RTI Act which says people with political background would not be considered for the post. Proper procedures for the appointments under the RTI were also not followed.  The Leader of the Opposition who is part of the selection committee had objected to the appointments and the Governor ESL Narasimhan had sent back the file for reconsideration to the state government without approving the appointments of these four. Again the selection committee met after a few months and this time the Leader of the Opposition was not present. The same set of names was recommended to the governor who had no option but to approve the appointments.  “All four have links with the ruling party. 
Moreover there was no transparency in their appointments and the Leader of the Opposition was not even consulted. This judgement will be a precedent for all other states in matters of appointment of the information commissioners,” said Mr Padmanabha Reddy, one of those challenging the appointments in court. “The CM should have backed down when the Governor sent back the file for reconsideration,” he added.