A public interest litigation petition was filed in the High Court on Friday challenging the state government’s decision to appoint four persons allegedly having political affiliation as state information commissioners.
The petitioners’ counsel, Gandra Mohan Rao, raised the issue before a division bench comprising chief justice PC Ghose and justice BN Rao Nalla and requested for a stay of the appointments before they took oath later in the day.
The chief justice said that the matter would be taken up on Monday.
Petitioners K Padmanabhaiah, Rao VBJ Chelikani and M Padmanabha Reddy, social activists and retired officers, sought suspension of the impugned GO 75 dated February 6, 2012 appointing Varre Venkateshwarlu, Lam Thanthiya Kumari, S Imtiaz Ahmed and M Vijaya Nirmala as information commissioners.
They argued that the appointments, which were made without an advertisement and without preparation of panels, was contrary to Section 15(3)(4) and (5) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 and contrary to the Supreme Court judgment in the Namit Sharma vs Union of India case.
As per the RTI Act, information commissioners should be drawn from a wide range of persons of professional backgrounds, including governance and administration, they contended.
The petitioners contended that the recommendation made by the committee consisting of the chief minister, deputy chief minister and the leader of the opposition for appointment of the above four persons was rejected and returned by the governor.
The re-circulation of the file by the government without placing it before the committee was illegal and the selections were based on extraneous considerations and in colorable exercise of power, they said.
The petitioners sought stay of the appointments as the persons concerned were yet to take oath as information commissioners, and prayed for immediate suspension of the GO.
Principal secretary (GAD), secretary to AP State Information Commission and the four persons who were appointed to the posts have been named as respondents.