BHUBANESWAR: Former district judge Laxmi Narayan Patnaik and social activist Sashi Prabha Bindhani have been selected to be next Information Commissioners (IC).
The selection of the Information Commissioners was, however, not unanimous as Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Narasingh Mishra gave dissent note. The selection of the two Information Commissioners was finalised with a 2-1 majority. The selected names have been forwarded to Governor SC Jamir for his approval following which formal appointments will be made.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik presided over the meeting. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh was the other member of the committee who attended the meeting.
In his dissent note, Mishra maintained that as per the RTI Act and Supreme Court judgment, persons of eminence and not those who have excelled in a particular field should be appointed as Information Commissioners. He said persons selected as ICs should have contributed to the society through social and allied work.
Mishra alleged that Bindhani, selected as IC for her contribution in the field of social work and as an RTI activist, does not have the basic qualification in this field which is required as per the law. He also questioned the basis on which the State Government made a shortlist of six probable candidates out of 44 applicants.
Others in the shortlist included retired district judge Debraj Rout, former administrator Hrushikesh Tripathy, retired principal chief conservator of forests Janardan Diwakar Sharma and former vice-Chancellor of North Odisha University Sanghamitra Mohanty.
The State Information Commission was running without a Commissioner after the term of Pramod Kumar Mohanty completed on April 27. Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) TK Mishra had resigned on February 12 citing personal reasons. However, the process for appointment of the CIC is yet to be started.