New Delhi: Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha was appointed as the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) on Saturday, according to a Rashtrapati Bhavan statement. President Ram Nath Kovind administered the oath of office to Sinha as the Chief Information Commissioner in the Central Information Commission at a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan, it said.
The post of the chief of transparency watchdog was lying vacant for over two months after Bimal Julka completed his term on August 26. Sinha, a former diplomat, joined as the Information Commissioner on January 1, 2019. He has served as India's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka.
Sinha, aged 62, will have a tenure of about three years as the CIC. A CIC and Information Commissioner are appointed for a tenure of five years or till they attain the age of 65 years.
Later, Sinha administered the oath of office to journalist Uday Mahurkar, former Labour Secretary Heera Lal Samariya and former Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General Saroj Punhani as Information Commissioners. With the induction of Mahurkar, Samariya and Punhani, the strength of Information Commissioner has gone up to seven.
Vanaja N Sarna, Neeraj Kumar Gupta, Suresh Chandra and Amita Pandove are the other Information Commissioners in the Central Information Commission. Transparency watchdog Central Information Commission, mandated to decide complaints and appeals filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, can have a Chief Information Commissioner and ten Information Commissioners.
There is still a vacancy of three Information Commissioners in the Commission. "Mahurkar, a veteran journalist, before joining as Information Commissioner in the Central Information Commission, was functioning as Senior Deputy Editor with a leading media house, a statement issued by the Personnel Ministry said.
He has graduated from Gujarat's Maharaja Sayajirao University in Indian history, culture and archaeology. Samariya, a 1985-batch IAS officer of Telangana cadre, retired as Secretary, Ministry of Labour & Employment in September.
"His area of expertise includes Administration and Governance," it said. Punhani, an Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IAAS) officer of 1984 batch, served as the Deputy Comptroller & Auditor General (HR & Training) in government of India.
"Her area of expertise includes Administration and Governance, the statement added. All four — CIC and three Information Commissioners — were short-listed for the posts by a three-member committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in its meeting held late last month.
Besides Modi, leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Home Minister Amit Shah are members of the panel.
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