CIC directs Centre to disclose names of candidates applying for Lokpal

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Lokpal1“The Central Information Commission on 10 December directed the central government to name those who have applied for various Lokpal posts so that the public can bring different facts to the Selection Committee’s notice.

“Disclosing names cannot be treated as invasion of privacy of the candidates as activist Subhash Agrawal was only seeking names of those who have applied for the posts and that it will enhance transparency and accountability,” said information commissioner Sudhir Bhargava.

Rejecting Agarwal’s plea, the department had refused to make public, names of those applying for Lokpal. “The commission says the appellant is not seeking details of a third party. Rather the names of aspirants for the posts of chairperson and members of Lokpal,” said the commissioner.

The Department of Personnel and Training claimed disclosing names means disclosing personal information of those who have either applied or have been nominated by different authorities for appointment as chairperson and members of Lokpal. Such disclosure has no kinship to public interest and would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of individuals, it added.

Disclosing the names of those who had applied for the posts of chairperson of Lokpal and members would enhance transparency and public confidence in the selection process, he said.

“It is only when names of candidates are disclosed can the public bring up undisclosed facts of the candidates to the Selection Committee’s notice. This would enhance public confidence in the selection process. Also, it is desirable the selection process be transparent,” he said.

It may be noted the Lokpal selection committee, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has, as members, the Lok Sabha Speaker, Leader of the Opposition in the Lower House, the Chief Justice of India or a judge of the Supreme Court, along with an eminent jurist.

The Lokpal Act, 2013 provides for establishment of anti-graft watchdog, Lokpal, for the Union, and Lokayuktas for the state,s to inquire into charges of corruption against public servants.