Taking strong exception to the skewed manner in which the Goa Government has high-handedly
selected BJP leader Vishwas Satarkar as the Chief Information Commissioner
(CIC) and journalist Sanjay Dhavlikar as State Information Commissioner (SIC), Adv.
Aires Rodrigues has stated that as both these quasi-judicial posts carry a very
handsome monthly salary of Rs 2, 25,000 each, besides other perks, it was
imperative that the best and brightest should have been chosen for these
Pointing out that within the 32 candidates who applied for the post of CIC and the 25
for SIC, there were definitely many much more qualified meritorious individuals,
Adv. Rodrigues has stated that eminence in public life as required and a very
sound knowledge of law should have been the guiding factor in the selection for
these vital posts.
Adv. Rodtigues has stated that the selection to any post has to be always free,
fair, transparent and not vitiated by political inter meddling as the failure
to do so erodes the faith and trust of the very people it is designed to serve.
Drawing the attention that Section 15 (6) of the Right to Information Act specifically mandates
that the CIC and SIC should not be connected with any political party, Adv.
Rodrigues has deprecated that we now have a CIC who is a former Speaker and a
very prominent active leader of the ruling BJP.
Stating that even if Vishwas Satarkar now formally resigns from his deep roots with
that party it would not pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, Adv. Rodrigues has
stated that it was an irony that after occupying that high August Chair as
Speaker of the Goa Legislative Assembly Vishwas Satarkar chose to stoop to be
CIC while adding that unfortunately, politicians today don’t work towards
moving upwards but sink to any levels to grab any and every Chair possible.
While emphasizing that the RTI Act is a
powerful and potent tool to expose corruption and maladministration and in this
direction an independent and effective Information Commission is a vital
mechanism that has to be in place, Adv. Rodrigues has asserted that to ensure
proper implementation of the Act the Information Commission should comprise of
independent minded persons of integrity, who would not succumb to the pressures
and pulls of politicians in power as their primary focus is to defend the
rights and liberty of individuals to have access to information, files and
documents pertaining to the Governmental operations, performance and decisions.
Further stating that the all important Institution of Lokayukta, Human Rights
Commission, State Information Commission and Police Complaints Authority are
all bodies constituted by law and each one of them has a purpose besides a
clear mandate while a lot of public money is spent in running these authorities
constituted to deliver justice to the citizens and bring to book the wrong
doers, Adv.Rodrigues has stressed the need to keep politicians at bay to ensure
true independence in the functioning of these authorities while suggesting that
it would be proper to entrust the High Court the meticulous selection of
non-partisan very qualified persons with integrity to man these bodies
efficiently and truthfully serve the society.