Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 16:
While a formal announcement would be made later, a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today zeroed in on Laxmi Narayan Patnaik and Sashiprava Bindhani as the two new Commissioners to be appointed to the Odisha Information Commission (OIC).
A total of 40 candidates had applied for the two vacancies out of which six names were shortlisted. The two finally selected were in the short list of six, sources said.
A formal announcement on the appointments will made after getting approval from the Governor.
“That will be announced after the approval by the honourable Governor,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told reporters at the end of the meeting.
Sources privy to the deliberations at the meeting said there was no consensus on the selection of the appointees; the names of Patnaik and Bindhani were finalized on the basis of a 2:1 vote in their favour, the sources said.
The meeting was attended by Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in the Odisha Assembly Narasingha Mishra and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh.
“The committee today took a decision on the appointment of two commissioners. But consensus could not be arrived at. The decision was taken on the basis of 2:1 majority. The selection didn’t have my approval, the reason being the decision goes against the decision of the Supreme Court in this connection,” said Narasingha Mishra, LoP Odisha Assembly speaking to reporters after the meeting.
“Names of those who have worked for several years in the Law department with wide experience have been recommended. Secondly, ever since the constitution of the Information Commission in the state, no woman had been appointed as its member. After examining the facts available threadbare, the committee recommended those two names. No irregularity has been committed in the selection,” said Parliamentary Affairs minister Bikram Keshari Arukh.
While Jagadananda retired from the post of Information Commissioner in 2013, Chief Information Commissioner Tarun Kanti Mishra resigned from his post on February 12 this year. The OIC currently has one Information Commissioner Pramod Mohanty whose term will end in July this year.