Amaravati: YSR Congress Party has raised objections over the appointment of RTI Commissioners in Andhra Pradesh (AP). YSRCP Rajya Sabha MP V Vijayasai Reddy wrote a letter to the Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh LV Subramanyam on Friday about the TDP government's role in politicising these appointments.

As per the letter, YSR Congress Party raised strong objections regarding the appointment of Vijayawada-based hotelier Ilapuram Raja as the AP Information Commissioner. Vijayasai Reddy said that E Srirammurthy and Ilapuram Raja were both TDP activists and questioned how they were considered for the post of the State RTI Commissioners.

Eerla Sriramamurthy, was a leader of Village Revenue Officers Association in Andhra Pradesh, who was also the former personal secretary to the AP HRD Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao, while I Raja was the son of former MLC Ilapuram Venkaiah and the president of Vijayawada Hotel Owners Association and MD of Hotel Ilapuram.

Quoting Section 15 of the RTI Act which deals with the constitution of the Information Commission, he said that Sub-section 5 of the Act states, “The State Chief Information Commissioner and the state Information Commissioners shall be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance.”

Sub-section 6 of the Act states, “The State Chief Information Commissioner or a State Information Commissioner shall not be a Member of Parliament or Member of the Legislature of any State or Union territory, as the case may be, or hold any other office of profit or be connected with any political party or carry on any business or pursue any profession.” The Act also says the candidates should not have affiliations to any political parties.

Vijayasai Reddy in his letter questioned as to how the Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and a senior cabinet minister propose their names for these posts against the rules of the RTI Act.

I Raja was a hotelier and the son of a TDP MLC and E Sriramamurthy was a private secretary to a TDP Minister. It may be recollected that the Governor ESL Narasimhan rejected Srirammurthy''s name and I Raja's name was confirmed.

He also raised objections to the fact that the committee was appointed when the Leader of the Opposition AP Assembly and YSRCP Chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy was busy during the elections phase.

Vijayasai Reddy also found fault with the way the appointment was made. For four years the state government chose not appoint a commissioner, but when the Model Code of Conduct was in place they sent a list of names to the Governor and Raja's name was confirmed, he rued. He reminded the fact that in 2017 the Supreme Court had rejected the appointment of six RTI Commissioners, as they were political appointees. Vijayasai Reddy requested that at least now there should transparency in appointment of RTI Commissioner in the state.

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