With no Chief Information Commissioner, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has been left in a quandary with its orders open to challenge by a court. Activists have urged PM Narendra Modi to appoint a chief for the Commission soon adding that the delay was adversely impacting its functioning.
Already there are 25,000 appeals pending before the CIC. According to Section 12 of the RTI Act, the Chief Information Commissioner is tasked with "general superintendence, direction and management of the affairs of the Central Information Commission" and is assisted by the information commissioners and may exercise all such powers to work autonomously without being subjected to directions by any other authority under the RTI Act.
"The Section implies that the role of the Chief Information Commissioner is critical for the functioning of the Central Information Commission," a statement by NCPRI said.
Former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah --who resigned as CIC in 2009 to join as head of the J&K Information Commission--said that he had been advised by the law ministry then that without a chief the CIC's orders were open to be challenged by courts according to the Act.
Activists also dismissed the argument that a chief could not be appointed due to the absence of a Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Lok Sabha as the RTI Act mandates that the panel for the appointment should include the PM, LoP and a minister chosen by the PM. "However, this cannot be the rationale for not appointing the Chief Information Commissioner since the RTI Act clearly specifies that in case no LoP has been recognised, the leader of the single largest party in opposition in the Lok Sabha shall be deemed to be the Leader of Opposition for the purpose of selecting Information Commissioners," NCPRI said. Source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Headless-Central-Information-Commission-could-land-up-in-legal-tangle/articleshow/41561590.cms