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High Court set aside four information commissioners appointment by AP govt.
In a major setback to the functioning of the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, the Andhra Pradesh High Court found fault with the appointment of four information commissioners in the state and set aside those appointments. The court also directed the Government of Andhra Pradesh to appoint new commissioners within six months.

Incidentally,  Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimhan also find fault with these appointmetns in February this year and returned the government file on the appointment of these commissioners suggesting reconsideration. Governor acted following severe opposition from the civil society activists who lamented the government had violated all conventions and regulations in this regard.

While the act suggests appointing persons having knowledge and experience of working in relevant field, the government chosen to appoint active politicians, close to the ruling party. But Chief Minister took it as a prestige issue, ignored advise of the governor and also opposition from the civil society groups and also opposition parties.

In an adamant way, the chief minister returned the file without any modifications and got approval from the government meeting him in person. Even some of his cabinet colleagues also found fault in these appointments.

With no option left, on behalf of the civil society groups, Forum for Good Governance Secretary K Padmanabha Reddy filed FIL in the High Court challenging these appointments. As a result, the high court finding fault in these appointments practically questioned the chief minister’s way of governance.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Kalyan Jyothi Sengupta passed the orders on a petition, which challenged the appointments on the ground that all the four are active in politics. The court asked the state government to make fresh appointments as per Right to Information (RTI) Act and the Supreme Court guidelines.

The court set aside the appointment of Imtiaz Ahmed, Tantiya Kumari, M. Vijaya Nirmala and V. Venkateswarlu. They along with four others were appointed as commissioners by the state government in Feb last year.

RTI activists and NGO alleged that the government violated the spirit of the RTI Act by appointing individuals with political background.  The information commissioners were selected by a panel which consisted Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, his deputy Damodar Rajanarasimha and Leader of Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu.

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