|Hari Shankar Prasad: Ruled out
Ranchi, July 9: The State Information Commission today reversed various illegal decisions of its former boss, Justice (retd.) Hari Shankar Prasad.
In a bid to simplify the process to file an appeal, the commission did away with the requirement of filing an affidavit along with the petition.
The reversal was done after several reports had emerged that the clerical staff harassed petitioners during scrutiny of documents.
Today’s meeting was presided over by acting chief information commissioner (CIC) Ram Vilas Gupta and attended by information commissioners and other staff.
The commission also nullified the controversial regulations framed by the former chief information commissioner to run the panel. The state government had quashed the laws concerned on the grounds that the commission was not competent to frame regulations.
As part of the review, the commission also decided to review orders passed by the former CIC that violated rules.
Commission spokesman Baidyanath Mishra said Prasad had reviewed over 100 orders passed by various information commissioners.
“Now these orders will be reviewed by a larger bench of two or three information commissioners,” he said.
Explaining the need to have more than one information commissioner on the review board, Mishra said orders passed by a single bench judge of the high court can be reviewed only by a division bench and not by the Chief Justice alone. So, the present information commissioner alone cannot review the regulations approved by the former chief information commissioner, said Mishra.
According to law, the power of review lies with the information commissioner who has passed the order.
The commission also empowered the acting chief information commissioner to assign districts and departments to various information commissioners to handle the Right to Information files. This should have been done long ago but Prasad did not implement the necessary procedure, he pointed out.
The central information commission and several state bodies already follow the work distribution system. The chief information commissioner can rotate the districts/departments every six months.
The information commission also removed senior lawyer Sohail Anwar, who was appointed by the chief information commissioner as a counsel in the high court without consulting the information commissioners.