Mayawati draws flak for naming tainted official as CIC


Lucknow : Close on the heels of the controversy over her fad for memorials and her own statues, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati is now drawing flak for appointing an alleged tainted bureaucrat as the state’s chief information commissioner (CIC).

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Barely 24 hours after Ranjit Singh Pankaj was sworn in as CIC by Uttar Pradesh cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh, his appointment was challenged through a PIL before the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court Wednesday.

Moved by lawyer Himanshu Shekhar Awasthi, the PIL questioned Pankaj’s appointment on the plea that his track record did not behove the high office of the guardian of the Right to Information (RTI).

Besides other positions, Pankaj’s role as district magistrate of Gorakhpur had come under cloud over appointment of 300 municipal sweepers not very long ago.

The petitioner had also questioned the appointment on the ground that the selection had been made in the absence of the leader of opposition in the state assembly, who was an essential part of the three member selection committee headed by the chief minister.

“The selection was made by the chief minister and another member nominated by the chief minister in the absence of leader of opposition,” the petitioner pointed out.

He also argued that the objections made by the Leader of Opposition Shivpal Yadav were simply ignored by the chief minister.

While opposing the PIL, the state government’s chief standing counsel Devendra Upadhaya said despite repeated requests, the leader of opposition chose to absent himself from the selection committee, which was left with no option but to go ahead.

“The meeting of the selection committee was earlier postponed on the request of the leader of opposition who was given a fresh date, but he did not turn up on the revised date either.

“Since the two remaining members sufficed to fulfil the quorum so they went ahead with the selection process,” Upadhaya said.

Issuing notice to the state, the bench comprising Justices Rajeev Sharma and Satish Chandra fixed July 10 as the date for the next hearing.