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Governor shocks Andhra CM on Information Commissioners' nominations
Unflinching protests by Civil Rights groups and the opposition parties have finally landed Andhra Chief Minister in trouble as the state governor returned the file sent from government that had suggested nomination of eight members as state information commissioners.

ANDHRA PRADESH Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy received a rude shock on Tuesday as the Governor E S L Narasimhan returned the file sent to him by the government last week suggesting nomination of eight members as State Information Commissioners. Three weeks after the committee headed by the Chief Minister selected those members, governor returned the file in view of severe opposition from the civil society groups and opposition parties, alleging violation of spirit and norms of Right to Information Act.

Incidentally, the opposition leader and Telugu Desam Party President N Chadnrababu Naidu, who was also member of the selection committee, remained silent during the meeting but later after one week he registered his protest, keeping in view criticism against him.

On close scrutiny of the names, it was found the recommendations were ultra virus of the provisions of RTI Act, 2005 and were also against the spirit with which this guardian of transparency Act was enacted.  At least five of them actively involved in politics and three of them were defeated candidates in the last Assembly elections. One among them contested against the Chief Minister unsuccessfully twice as TDP candidate and only recently joined Congress party. Three others were retired government officers.

Civil Society groups objecting to the selection of sitting IPS officer M Ratan, stated that it reflected conflict of interest and dereliction towards RTI Act. They felt it is direct violation of Section 15.6 of RTI Act – “(6) The State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner shall not be a Member of Parliament or Member of the Legislature of any State or Union territory, as the case may be, or hold any other office of profit or connected with any political party or carrying on any business or pursuing any profession.” He is also probably going to be caught in a case of conflict of interest as his wife Ms.Chaya Ratan is an IAS officer, currently in AP cadre and also many of his senior colleagues still in government service.

It seems that Congress high command was also unhappy with these selections. Only last week AICC Spokesperson and former union minister Renuka Chowdary, who also hails from AP, commented in Delhi that once governor received the file he would review those names. Her statement indicated that Centre may suggest governor in this regard.

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