Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi has been dropped from the list of Information Commissioners.
The government has already shortlisted three people for the posts commissioners and Bassi’s name is not there.
This came after activists criticised his utterly biased role in handling the crisis related to JNU Students’ Union leader, Kanhaiya Kumar.
The decision was taken after a meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with former finance minister P Chitambaram and the leader of opposition in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday.
RTI activist Anjali Bharadwaj had said, “If you look at the RTI, it draws inspiration from the freesom of speech. His biases while handling the JNU and Patiala House situations have been very disappointing. It will be a dark day if he’s appointed the Information Commissioner.”
Other critics’ too felt that Bassi’s choice for the top anti-graft job was ironical because of his alleged penchant for promoting nepotism and biases during his time as the Delhi top cop.
Former CIC Shailesh Gandhi too had written to the cabinet secretary, PK Sinha, saying that it will be a sad day for democracy if Bassi was appointed as Information Commissioner.
He wrote, “There are news reports that Mr. Bassi is likely to be made an Information Commissioner in the Central Information Commission. This would be a travesty of the process. There should be a transparent process for selecting an Information Commissioner in line with the spirit of the Right to Information Act. I concede that the final selection is a political decision as per the Act, but there should be a transparent process for shortlisting the panel to be presented to the selection committee. Not doing this is doing great harm to the RTI Act.”
Pointing to his blatant biases, Gandhi further said that his choice for the post would be extremely unfortunate.
He wrote, “t this particular moment when Mr. Bassi appears to have acquiesced to an open subversion of two of the estates of our nation, his choice would be very unfortunate. By his collusive inaction, journalists were attacked and the sanctity and respect for the judicial system and the courts was diminished. Even when a citizen does this it is unacceptable. From a public servant charged to uphold the law, it deserves the strongest condemnation. Julio Ribeiro has stated with sadness “I would have arrested the lawyers from their homes at night. I would never condone such acts,” and “I always had good opinion about Mr Bassi. Unfortunately, circumstances have changed my opinion about him. He is angling for a post-retirement job.”
(Shailesh Gandhi letter: Courtesy The Hindu)