The appointment of the senior bureaucrat, Mr Jannat Hussain, as the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) turned controversial on Thursday when the Leader of Opposition, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, objected to the government’s move. Mr Naidu questioned the government’s intention of appointing an officer, who has served as principal secretary to two Congress chief ministers over a long period, to a position that required a person with an impeccable and unbiased approach.
The TD chief said that there were several others who were better suited than Mr Hussain to hold an office that played a crucial role in empowering people with information. Mr Naidu had earlier visited the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) at the Secretariat to discuss the CIC’s selection and also of the non-judicial member of the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC).
As per the RTI Act, a panel comprising the Chief Minister, the Leader of Opposition and a senior Cabinet member nominated by the Chief Minister (Ms J. Geeta Reddy in this case) should make the selection. The TD president was reportedly upset with the unilateral approach of the government in informing him of the selection of Mr Hussain for the post. Describing the act as undemocratic, he wondered how the spirit of the Act could be upheld if the government took the decision first and later put the same for formal approval before the committee. “Where is the need for this exercise?” he asked.
Mr Naidu told media persons that he would put all his objections and views in the file when it was brought to him before being sent to the Governor for the appointment. He said he would also represent his objections to the Governor in person. He demanded that the government should rethink on the customary approach adopted in these selections.
The Chief Minister, Mr K. Rosaiah, refused to comment on the observations made by Mr Naidu.