In the matter of appointments to higher echelons, fairness should be the hallmark of selection

High Court Of Uttaranchal: A Division Bench comprising of  U.C. Dhyani and  Sudhanshu Dhulia, JJ. dismissed a challenge against the appointment of State Chief Information Commissioner. The main challenge in the petition was that the office of the State Chief Information Commissioner has become the ‘dumping ground’ for retired bureaucrats, who are rewarded for their loyalty to the State Government.

The question posed in the writ petition is – whether the state government can defy the mandate of the Union legislature and the spirit of the RTI Act by appointing Chief Information Commissioner to favour certain officers, who have retired, or are due to retire in the near future?

The contention put up by the petitioner is that according to Section 15(1) of RTI Act, the requirement of the appointment of a retired bureaucrat is not a necessity, rather it prescribes the requirement is of a person shall be eminent in public life with wide knowledge and experience in particular field.

Further, it has been stated by the Hon’ble Court, that, Court cannot sit in judgment over the wisdom of the government in the choice of person to be appointed as long as the person satisfies all the eligibility criteria along with the process prescribed. Therefore, it has been observed by the court that the writ of quo Warranto cannot be issued unless there is a clear violation of law and here clearly the appointment has is not contrary to the statutory rules.

Concluding the judgment, the Hon’ble Court while agreeing to the submission of the learned counsel for the petitioner in the matter of appointments to higher echelons, fairness should be the hallmark of selection, it does not find any illegality or irregularity in the appointment of the State Chief Information Commissioner, it also hoped that in the future, the persons of eminence will be drawn from these walks of life also. [Chandra Shekhar Kargeti v. State Of Uttarakhand; 2018 SCC OnLine Utt 29, order dated 10-01-2018]

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