8 months on, SIC continues to remain headless

The governor’s administration has delayed filling up the position of the chief information commissioner in the state information commission (SIC).

The SIC continues to be headless for the past eight months despite the governor’s administration last year amending the right to information Act-2009 to pave way for appointment of its head and members during the governor’s or the president’s rule in the state.

Following the collapse of the PDP-BJP coalition government in June 2018, the state came under governor’s rule and the then chief information commissioner Khurshid A Ganai was appointed as an advisor to the governor.

Ganai resigned as the CIC on June 29 to take over as advisor, leaving the SIC headless. Since then, the governor’s administration has failed to appoint the new CIC.

As per the amended RTI Act, “CIC and information commissioners shall be appointed by the governor on the recommendations of a selection committee comprising his advisors (one of whom shall be nominated as chairperson of the committee) and the chief secretary (member secretary).”

The amendments made in the Act “are applicable only when the state is under the governor’s or the president’s rule.”

Prior to the amendments, the CIC and the information commissioners were appointed by the governor on recommendations of a committee comprising leader of the opposition in the legislative assembly and a cabinet minister to be nominated by the chief minister.

The commission, as per the RTI Act-2009, shall consist of two information commissioners and the CIC.

At present, there is only one state information commissioner.

Earlier this month, governor Satya Pal Malik appointed Muneer Ahmad Khan, additional director general of police (law and order), as information commissioner in the SIC.

“In exercise of the powers vested in me under Section 12(3) of the Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act, 2009, I Satya Pal Malik, appoint Muneer Khan, IPS, as the state information commissioner in the state information commission,” read an order, issued by the general administration department.

Muneer Khan will be retiring in June this year.