In a letter to Governor Wanchoo today Adv. Aires Rodrigues has drawn his attention to the malafied and autocratic selection of P.R. Nadkarni by the Goa Government for the exalted position of State Information Commissioner.
Urging the Governor to reject the State government’s selection of P.R. Nadkarni, Adv. Rodrigues has demanded that P.R. Nadkarni not be appointed as the Information Commissioner.
Drawing the Governor’s attention that Section 15(5) of the Right to Information Act requires that the Information Commissioner should have wide knowledge and experience of law , Adv. Rodrigues has stated that P.R.Nadkarni has no knowledge and experience in law, whatsoever, as was required and that even Nadkarni’s academic record itself needs to be independently assessed.
Stating that the State Information Commissioner would be drawing 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 who is appointed for five years does not become a liability and embarrassment to the State.
Alleging that the selection of P.R.Nadkarni, a staunch BJP supporter was a well planned and stage managed show by the Chief Minister, Adv. Rodrigues has stated that by advertising the post, the government had merely sought to project the image of transparency in the selection process.
Adv. Rodrigues in his letter has also alleged that the government has a hidden agenda to elevate P.R Nadkarni as the State Chief Information Commissioner after the current incumbent Motilal Kenny retires next month.
Adv. Rodrigues has accused the three-member committee of being used as a rubber-stamp to recommend P.R. Nadkarni’s name as a political appointment based on nepotism rather than merit.
Reiterating that the selection process for such an important position could not have been a mere cosmetic exercise,
Adv. Rodrigues has 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 as rightly mandated in the RTI Act itself.
Drawing Governor Wanchoo’s attention that the recently retired Principal of Salgaoncar College of Law, Dr. Marian Pinheiro, had been deliberately sidelined though evidently being the most qualified and most suitable for the post, Adv. Rodrigues stated that it would be a sad day for the RTI movement in the State if the appointment of the State Information Commissioner was not on merit but a political choice.
Stating that Institutions like the Lokayukta and Information Commission need to be totally free from political control and manipulation by being headed by persons of eminence, integrity and with no party affiliations, Adv. Rodrigues has called upon Governor Wanchoo to exercise his constitutional powers and direct the Goa Government to re-examine the entire selection process so that as required by law only a highly competent person is appointed as Information Commissioner.
The file recommending P.R Nadkarni’s name as State Information Commissioner is expected to be sent to Raj Bhavan tomorrow by the Government for the Governor’s approval. The Governor is the appointing authority and administers the oath to the Information Commissioner. The Governor can accept or reject the name proposed by the Government for State Information Commisioner.