Vacancies at Information Commission: SC seeks report from Odisha

Bhubaneswar/New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ordered the Odisha government and eight other states to submit a status report on steps taken to fill up the existing vacant posts in the concerned State information commissions. The apex court issued the order while hearing a petition filed by senior advocate Prashant Bhushan in this regard today.

According to the order issued by the Supreme Court, the States, including Odisha, have been ordered to give details of the way in which the Information Commission (IC) posts will be filled.

Odisha has 8 vacant posts with only 3 occupied ones including that of Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), Sunil Kumar Mishra and Information Commissioners – Sashiprava Bindhani and Laxmi Narayan Patanaik.

According to sources, by October 31, 2017, more than 10,000 petitions and complaints are pending trial owing to the absence of Information Commissioners in Odisha. The government in an affidavit filed on September 23, 2018 had maintained that one of the vacant posts will be filled in the next 6 months. However, the government is yet to fill the post.

Right to Information (RTI) activist Biswapriya Kanungo said “As the government wants to suppress facts, it is making all efforts to keep such organisations crippled, both directly and indirectly.”