A public interest litigation has been filed in Bombay High Court challenging the appointment of former Maharashtra chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad as chief State Information Commissioner (SIC).
Filed by Krishna Harishchandra Rao, the PIL has sought quashing of Gaikwad's appointment as chief SIC on the ground that a retired government official cannot head the Information Commission, which is a quasi judicial body.
"The Information Commission is intended to be an independent watchdog institution for enforcing disclosure of government information to citizens. With the appointment of a retired bureaucrat the citizens will be left with a biased tribunal," the PIL states.
It further claims that Gaikwad as chief SIC will hear cases relating to Maharashtra government and various departments of Mantralaya, which he himself headed as chief secretary.
"In house selection as head of a quasi judicial tribunal is unconstitutional," the petition states.
The petitioner has further alleged that Gaikwad used his influential position as chief secretary and deliberately neglected appointing a chief SIC till his retirement in May this year.
"In May, Gaikwad wrote a letter to the Chief Minister saying since he is retiring, he would like to apply for the post of SIC. In June, Gaikwad was appointed," it said.
The petition has sought the court to quash the appointment, pass strictures against the government for acting against public interest with malafide intentions and to issue guidelines for appointment of SICs.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Nitin Jamdar has posted the matter for hearing on October 12.