Reallocation of work among information commissioners on the 10th of January, 2017
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  • March 14, 2017
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Mr. R. K. Mathur

Chief Information Commissioner

Central Information Commission

New Delhi

 

January 19, 2017

 

Dear Mr. Mathur,

We are writing to you with reference to the reallocation of work among information commissioners on the 10th of January, 2017, wherein Prof. Acharyulu was relieved of the charge of hearing appeals and complaints related to the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

This decision is being widely perceived as emanating from political interference in the functioning of the IC, since it was taken within weeks of the commissioner’s order allowing for inspection of Delhi University’s BA degree records of 1978, the year Prime Minister Modi completed his undergraduate degree as per his affidavit available on the website of the Election Commission of India. The decision also appears to be sudden since on December 29, 2016, the CIC in its order of allocation of work had allowed Prof. Acharyulu to retain the charge of the HRD ministry.

This perception is extremely worrying as it compromises the autonomy of the Central Information Commission, which has been set up under the RTI Act as an autonomous and empowered institution to dispose matters relating to peoples’ fundamental right to information. The information commissioners of the CIC have been given the status equivalent to Judges of the Supreme Court. This exalted status has been guaranteed to ensure that commissioners discharge their duties in an independent manner.

We, therefore, urge you to place in the public domain the reasons for transferring the charge of hearing appeals and complaints related to the Ministry of HRD away from the bench of Prof. Acharyulu. In any case, under Section 4 of the RTI Act, the reasons for all administrative and quasi-judicial decisions have to be proactively disclosed.

In the absence of compelling and valid reasons, we urge you to restore the charge of the Ministry of HRD to Prof. Acharyulu.

Best wishes and regards,

Signed/-

Anjali Bhardwaj, Aruna Roy, Shailesh Gandhi, Nikhil Dey, Amrita Johri, Pankti Jog, Rakesh Dubbudu, Bhaskar Prabhu, Vijay Kumbhar, Dolphy D’Sousa, Anand Castelino

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