NEW DELHI: Government and the opposition today agreed on the names of Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC), the posts that have been lying vacant for over nine months over which there has been criticism.
The agreement came at two meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge in two different committees. While Finance Minister Arun Jaitley attended the meeting on selection of CIC, Home Minister Rajnath Singh attended the other meeting on CVC. Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh was also present in the meetings. The two meetings also cleared the names for three vacant posts of Information Commissioners and at least one Vigilance Commissioner.
"The panels have met and their recommendations have been sent to President's office. All the names against the vacant posts have been sent to the President. I cannot tell you the names. The meeting was confidential," Kharge said after the meeting. To a question whether there was disagreement on the names, he said there is no question of agreement or disagreement on the names as of now. A formal announcement of the names will take place after President Pranab Mukherjee, to whom the recommendations have gone, gives his assent. The President is away on a five-day visit abroad, till Thursday.
Both the selection panels are headed by Prime Minister. The last meeting of the panel held here on May 23 had remained inconclusive. Earlier last month, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi had attacked the Prime Minister over the delay in the appointments of chiefs of CIC, CVC and Lokpal saying the government feared transparency.
Many RTI activists have also questioned the delay in appointments. The CIC, which is mandated to resolve appeals and complaints filed against government departments or public authorities by information seekers under the Right to Information Act, has been working without a chief for over nine months, after the tenure of CIC Rajiv Mathur ended on August 22, 2014.
Three posts of information commissioners in the CIC are also vacant. Sources said there are 203 applicants, including all seven information commissioners, for the post of the Chief Information Commissioner and 553 for the post of information commissioners.
Under the RTI Act, the CIC has one chief and 10 information commissioners. In CVC, the term of Central Vigilance Commissioner Pradeep Kumar had ended on September 28 last year, while vigilance commissioner J M Garg completed his tenure on September 7.
The government has received about 130 applications for the two posts at the anti-corruption watchdog, they said.