Home India News It’s official: Wajahat Habibullah head of Kashmir’s RTI watchdog

It’s official: Wajahat Habibullah head of Kashmir’s RTI watchdog


Srinagar : Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra has approved Wajahat Habibullah as the head of the state’s information commission.

“Vohra signed the order Thursday,” Jammu and Kashmir’s Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Sagar told IANS Friday.

Habibullah is likely to take oath and join the the new assignment Monday, the minister said.

A 1968 batch IAS officer, Habibullah had already submitted his resignation as the central information commissioner to President Pratibha Patil.

Habibullah had received an offer from Chief Minister Omar Abdullah earlier this month for the new post.

Sagar said names have been short listed for two information commissioners and the supporting staff for the State Information Commission.

After taking over as chief minister in January, Omar Abdullah listed implementation of the Right to Information Act as one of his top priorities so the state could be at par with the rest of the country.

Sagar said the government had designated officials in various departments to provide information sought under the RTI Act, which has been brought at par with the central legislation.

Under the SIC, the CIC would be equivalent in rank to that of an election commissioner and the two commissioners would have the powers equal to that of chief secretaries.

At the district and sub-district levels, the commission would be supported by the public information officers and assistant public information officers who would be disseminating information to appellants.

Habibullah has served in Jammu and Kashmir in several capacities. He was divisional commissioner of nine districts in the state between 1991 and 1993. The assignment was abruptly terminated by a near fatal road accident while negotiating with militants occupying the Hazratbal shrine in Kashmir in October 1993.

He will be in the state for less than a year, and thereafter is being reportedly tipped for a governor’s posting, according to informed sources.