Current Affairs

HC directs Govt to make statement of CIC, SIC appointments

A Division bench of the Bombay High Court at Goa comprising of Justice N.H.Patil and Justice U.V.Bakre today directed the Goa Government to make a statement tomorrow on whether it was still intending to appoint Leena Mehendale as Goa’s Chief Information Commissioner and Stanley Coutinho along with Sandesh Prabhudesai as State Information Commissioners.

When the petition challenging the procedure followed by the Goa government in the selection of the Information Commissioners came up for hearing today, Adv. Aires Rodrigues argued that the procedure followed by the Goa Government was flawed and in utter violation of the directions issued by the Supreme Court in its judgment last year in the Namit Sharma case.

Adv. Aires Rodrigues further argued that as directed by the Supreme Court the Information Commissioners have necessarily to discharge judicial and quasi judicial functions and that the post requires judicial approach, legal experience, knowledge and expertise of law. 

Stating that Leena Mehendale had obtained the law degree only in 2010 and did not possess the required vast knowledge and experience of law, Adv. Rodrigues drew the Court’s attention that she was even rejected for the post of Chief Information Commissioner by the Maharashtra Government.

Pointing out that all states required the Information Commissioners to have knowledge of the local language, Adv. Rodrigues drew the attention of the Court that Mehendale did not have the knowledge of Konkani which was the official language of Goa.

Arguing that the Goa State Information Commission had been constituted and notified with one Chief Information Commissioner and one State Information Commissioner only, Adv. Rodrigues submitted to the Court that the second post of SIC being non existent,  the selection of Sandesh Prabhudesai for a post which was not advertised was arbitrary, discriminatory and violative of the article 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India as it deprived other qualified persons an opportunity to apply for the second post of SIC.

Adv. Rodrigues also submitted that the selection of Sandesh Prabhudesai was done without him even applying for the post of SIC and on a mere recommendation letter which was surprisingly silent on Sandesh Prabhudesai’s educational qualification.

Adv. Rodrigues also sought that the High Court direct the Goa Government to fill the post of Chief Information Commissioner and State Information Commissioner strictly in accordance with the directives and the law as laid down by the Supreme Court.

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