Former CIC demands disclosure of material which led to Alok Verma's removal as CBI Director
New Delhi, Jan 17: A former Central Information Commissioner has written to the President Thursday seeking disclosure of all the documents and reports that became the basis of removal of Alok Verma as CBI Director.
In his letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, former CIC Sridhar Acharyulu strongly advocated instilling transparency in the CBI and CIC appointments.
"The transparency should begin with CIC appointments and it should be ensured in all activities of governance in all institutions like CBI and CIC, and top-level Committees headed by the Prime Minister in dealing with issues like appointing and removing director of CBI and selecting the Commissioners for CIC, etc," he said.
Recalling the speech of Kovind on the annual convention of the Central Information Commission last year where he had said there was no such thing as too much information in a democracy, Acharyulu said there is serious information deficit on the CBI and CIC appointments. “Information deficit about Information Commissioners will not enable citizen to take up the issues with CIC with confidence,” he said.
On the removal of Verma as CBI chief, Acharyulu said complete information like the CVC report or any other document that formed basis for the decision should be disclosed as demanded by Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge who was also part of the High level committee which took the decision in a split verdict.
“Undoubtedly the Committee has power to remove the director as confirmed by the bench of Supreme Court, but is it not necessary to disclose all material reports considered for removal to be made available to the public in general and members of the committee including Mr Kharge in particular,” he said.
Citing the speech of Kovind where he had said the issue of transparency is about nurturing the social contract of trust between the citizen and the state where both must have faith in each other, Acharyulu asked why the Government is leaving the people with serious dearth of information about happenings in CBI and appointments in CIC? “Section 4 of RTI Act mandates voluntary disclosure about all appointments.
The Supreme Court said that there should be transparency in this process of CIC appointments. The Government takes steps to fill the vacancies only when the judiciary goads them and reviews the process like a super boss, in the public interest litigations filed by public spirited persons.
Yet they are not giving required details,” he said. Alok Verma was removed on January 10 unceremoniously as the CBI director after a high-powered panel led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi found that he had not been functioning with integrity expected of him.
The panel also comprised Kharge and Justice A K Sikri, appointed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi as his nominee. Kharge has expressed his dissent to the decision which was taken by a majority of 2:1.