Dr Pradeep Padwal who was appointed as State Information Commissioner on 19th July would assume office only after being administered oath of office by the Governor.
In a letter to Governor Wanchoo today Adv. Aires Rodrigues has pointed out that the Supreme Court on 19th July had directed the government not to appoint any more information commissioners till it decides on the plea making it mandatory that Information Commissioners be persons with a judicial background. Adv. Rodrigues has sent Governor Wanchoo a copy of the Supreme Court order.
A Bench of the Honourable Supreme Court comprising Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar passed the order to this effect while reserving its judgment on the petition by Mr. Namit Sharma challenging the validity of the appointments of Information Commissioners with no knowledge and experience of law and without a judicial background.
Adv. Rodrigues has in his letter to the Governor stated that the issue being now under the consideration of the Supreme Court it would not be appropriate for the Governor to administer the oath of office to Dr. Pradeep Padwal as State Information Commissioner.
Pointing out that the Right to Information Act requires that the Information Commissioner should have wide knowledge and experience of law, Adv. Rodrigues has in his letter drawn Governor Wanchoo’s attention that Dr. Pradeep Padwal had no knowledge and experience in law whatsoever and obviously no judicial background.
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 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 as was rightly mandated in the RTI Act itself.