Poll code flouted in appointment to CIC

IC Omita Paul then quit to be adviser to FM


Danish Raza | March 8, 2010

Going against the model code of conduct during Lok Sabha elections 2009, the government appointed Omita Paul as an information commissioner in the Central Information Commission (CIC).

 The model code of conduct requires any appointments to statutory commission like National Human Rights Commission and similar commissions, to be deferred till the elections are over.

The code was enforced from March 2 to May 28 in 2009.

 According to the information provided by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) in response to an RTI application, the entire process of
 selecting and appointing Paul was initiated and completed during this period.

 The response by DoPT said that the selection committee comprising the prime minister, union law minister and leader of opposition, met on 6th April, 2009 and cleared Paul’s name. Paul was issued appointment letter on 23rd April, 2009. She assumed office of the information commissioner on 13th May, 2009.

The DoPT provided this information to Mumbai resident Girish Mittal.

Interestingly, Paul resigned from the commission after 13 days of her appointment, to join as an adviser to Pranab Mukherjee, who was finance minister at that time.

Mittal has written to the Election Commission about the violations.

 “It is apparent that this violation was deliberate as the people concerned were very well aware of restriction during the code of the conduct. And last but not least, the finger of accountability also points at then External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Omita Paul carried out correspondence regarding her appointment on her departmental letterhead as adviser, Ministry of External Affairs,” Mittal has written in his complaint to the EC chief Navin Chawla, asking the commission to initiate penal actions against all those who are responsible, including Omita Paul.



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