Would the Additional Chief Secretary join as CIC?
Mr. Umesh Chandra Sarangi, the current Additional Chief Secretary (Home) who is retiring on February 29, has been tipped as the hot contender for the post of the Chief Information Commissioner at the Maharashtra State Information Commission. He is a 1977 batch IAS officer. The post has been is lying vacant after Mr. Vijay Kuvalekar, who was holding additional charge, retired on February 7. Maharashtra has seen short-term appointments of Chief Information Commissioners Since October 2010 (Mr. Vilas Patil 9 months, Mr. Vijay Kuvlekar 7 months).
The committee comprising the Chief Minister, deputy Chief Minister and leader of the Opposition in the legislative assembly is likely to meet to finalise the appointment. It is not clear whether while appointing a new CIC, the government should follow the principle of seniority amongst the Information Commissioners. Under the RTI Act, there is no provision for appointing a CIC by seniority. However, during the appointment of the preceding Chief Information Commissioner at the state, Mr Vilas Patil and also at the Centre, the principle of seniority was followed. Activists have called for early appointment of Information Commissioners to hear the piled-up cases.