Sudhir Bhargava, former Secretary in the Ministry of Social Justice, on Tuesday took oath as the ninth Chief Information Commissioner in the Central Information Commission (CIC).

President Ram Nath Kovind administered the oath of office to Bhargava at a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan, a communique from Rashtrapati Bhavan said.

Bhargava has been an Information Commissioner in the CIC since June 2015.

The government last month appointed Bhargava as the new Chief Information Commissioner along with four new Information Commissioners to the CIC, taking its total strength to seven.

The panel was functioning with three members against the sanctioned strength of 11, including the Chief Information Commissioner.

The CIC is the highest appeal body under the Right to Information Act.

Like all his predecessors, Bhargava is a retired bureaucrat. The previous chiefs have all had Central service background.

After the retirement of Chief Information Commissioner RK Mathur and Information Commissioners Yashovardhan Azad, Sridhar Acharyulu, and Amitava Bhattacharyya, the panel was left with three Information Commissioners, prompting activists to approach the Supreme Court on the issue of vacancies.