203 candidates apply for CIC, from clerk to top bureaucrats

New Delhi: From clerk in the defence ministry to top bureaucrats, a total of 203 candidates have applied to become India’s chief information commissioner. The top job at the the country’s highest information panel, which has been lying vacant for more than seven months.

Former Chairman Railway Board Arunendra Kumar has applied for the post of CIC.
Former Chairman Railway Board Arunendra Kumar has applied for the post of CIC.

A total of 203 candidates, mostly top bureaucrats in the country, have applied for the post of CIC, which has been vacant since August 2014 when Rajiv Mathur quit the post.

Nearly 67 applicants vying for the post are serving and retired top bureaucrats. Others include 14 secretaries of ministries,a former Chairman Railway Board and a board member, university vice-chancellors, and top armed forces personnel and current information commissioners for the post with a tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65, whichever is earlier.

Among applicants are an Army clerk, an insurance ombudsman, an official of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), a court manager, an advocate, the additional chief secretary of Meghalaya and a member secretary in the Law Commission

According to an RTI reply received by activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal from DoPT, the names among the applicant include former DoPT secretary Dr Shymal Kumar Sarkar, Tourism secretary Pervez Dewan,former Shipping secretary Vishwapati Trivedi, former Urban Development secretary Sudhir Krishna, former CBI Director A P Singh, former Textile secretary Zohra Chatterjee, ex-HUDCO CMD V P Baligar, former Chairman Railway Board Arunendra Kumar and Railway Board member (mechanical) Alok Johri, former MCD commissioner K S Mehra and former CBI Director A P Singh.

The list of applicants also includes names of Secretary rank officials like P K Malhotra, Anup Kumar Thakur, Nita Chowdhury, Ravindra Singh, Sudhir Kumar, Bimal Julka, Stuti Narain Kacker, Ashish Bahuguna and Prem Narain.

Serving information commissioners – namely Sharat Sabarwal, Yashovardhan Azad, Manjula Parasher and Sridhar Acharyulu – have also sought an ungrade to the top post.

Besides, there are at least five retired and serving defence personnel in the ranks of Lt General, Major General and Air Marshal who are in the race.

And not to forget the clerk from the Ministry of Defence who has also applied for the job.

The CIC had triggered a race among retired and retiring bureaucrats by scrapping the process of appointment based on seniority.

There are at least two serving in the CIC – Vijay Sharma and Basant Seth – who could have been appointed to the top post in rotation according to seniority, but the rule change means anyone can aspire for the post now.

The post of CIC comes with the same status, salary and perks enjoyed by the judges of the Supreme Court.

Inputs with Mail Today