The Central government on Monday finally announced the name for the posts of Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) and Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), that have been lying vacant for over nine months over which there has been criticism.
Former CBDT chief K V Chowdary and Information Commissioner Vijai Sharma were appointed as CVC and CIC respectively.
T M Bhasin, Chairman and Managing Director of Indian Bank, has also been appointed as Vigilance Commissioner.
The appointments of the trio were approved on Monday by President Pranab Mukherjee, a Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson said, a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge recommended their names.
With Chowdary’s appointment, the government has for the first time broken away with the tradition of appointing an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer as the chief of the anti-corruption watchdog since it was formed in 1964.
Chowdary, a former Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer, is working as an Adviser in Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) to check black money. He retired as Chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in October, last year.
In the Central Information Commission, the government has followed the convention of appointing the senior most Information Commissioner as the CIC.
Sharma, a former Environment Secretary, has been working as Information Commissioner in the Central Information Commissioner since 2012. He will have tenure of about six months as he attains the age of 65 years on December 1, this year.
Both Chowdary and Bhasin have been appointed for a term of four years from the date on which they enter upon their office or till they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier, an official release said.
The Central Vigilance Commission is headed by a CVC and comprises two vigilance commissioners and today’s appointment constitutes the full Commission.
Meanwhile, in the CIC, there are vacancies for four Information Commissioners. The incumbents are Basant Seth, Yashovardhan Azad, Sharat Sabharwal, Manjula Prasher, MA Khan Yusufi and Madabhushanam Sridhar Acharyulu.
Central Information Commission, which is mandated to resolve appeals and complaints filed against government departments or public authorities by information seekers under the Right to Information Act, has been working without a Chief for over nine months, after the tenure of CIC Rajiv Mathur ended on August 22, 2014.
A total of 40,051 cases — comprising 32,531 appeals and 7,520 complaints filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act — are pending in the Commission as on today, as per an official data.
The appointments have come after opposition leaders including Congress President Sonia Gandhi had attacked the government over keeping these posts vacant and raised questions whether it was afraid of transparency.