Pointing out that Section 15 (5) of the Right to Information Act requires that State Information Commissioner be a person of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, Adv Rodrigues in his legal notice has stated that Dr Padwal had no knowledge and experience in law and besides had a vigilance probe pending against him.
Giving details of the Vigilance probe, Adv. Rodrigues has drawn the attention of the Chief Secretary that Dr Padwal in 1995 while posted on deputation as Medical Inspector in the Directorate of Factories and Boilers had unauthorisedly while on duty done a full time post graduate Diploma in Occupational and Industrial Health without obtaining the required government permission or availing study leave.
Adv. Rodrigues has stated that surprisingly the government despite knowing that Dr Padwal was a retired government officer did not seek a clearance from the Vigilance department before appointing him as State Information Commissioner.
Adv. Rodrigues has also drawn the Chief Secretary’s attention that the Supreme Court by an order on 19th July had directed the government not to appoint any more information commissioners in the Central Information Commission till it decides on the plea making it mandatory that Information Commissioners should be persons with a judicial background.
Adv. Rodrigues has in his notice further stated that it was very inappropriate to appoint Dr. Pradeep Padwal as State Information Commissioner despite him having no experience and knowledge of law and that with a Vigilance probe still pending against him Dr Padwal by no stretch of imagination would qualify as a person of eminence in public life.
Stating that the State Information Commissioner draws a salary equivalent to that of the Chief Secretary of around Rs 1, 20,000 a month, Adv. Rodrigues has stated that it was important to ensure that the person appointed did not become a liability and embarrassment to the State for five long years.
Adv. Rodrigues has further stated that the Right to Information Act being a vital evolving law it was imperative that the Information Commissioner be a person with a very sound legal background and eminence in public life as rightly mandated in the RTI Act itself.