While the J&K government is boasting of ensuring transparency in governance, the State Information Commission is facing official neglect as it continues to function without a member and secretary.
Official sources told Greater Kashmir that the transparency panel is functioning without one of its two members even as it had written to the government last month to fill the vacancy.
Dr SK Sharma—one of the members of the Commission—completed his term on October 31.
"We had informed the government in advance (about the vacancy) but they did nothing to fill up the position," an official in the Commission said. "It is certainly taking a toll on our functioning."
The Chief Information Commissioner and two members of the panel are appointed by the Governor on recommendations of a high-powered selection panel headed by Chief Minister. The leader of the largest opposition party in the Assembly and a cabinet minister to be nominated by the Chief Minister are other members of the selection committee.
On the other hand, the position of Secretary Commission is also vacant.The State Cabinet had on October 19 transferred the SIC Secretary G N Balwan and posted him as Deputy Commissioner Kishtwar. Since then the position is vacant as the government didn't sent a replacement.
This is for the first time in the history of the Commission that the post of its Secretary is vacant.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Chief Information Commissioner GR Sufi said frequent transfer of the Secretary is "creating instability" in the Commission.
After the formation of the PDP-BJP government in the State on March 1, three officers have been shifted from the post of Secretary SIC. In April this year, Peerzada Hafizullah was transferred from the Commission. In less than a month later, his successor was also shifted from the Commission and posted as Director Tourism Jammu.
On the same day, the government posted GN Balwan in the Commission. He too was transferred from the transparency panel in October.