An online petition to have the outgoing Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court Ajit Prakash Shah as India’s Chief Information Commissioner has been launched with many supporting the bid.
Shah retired Saturday after being denied elevation to the apex court.
The online petition started by Milan Choraria, a Right To Information (RTI) activist, has so far received over 50 signatures from people all across India.
‘The denial of the elevation of Justice Ajit Prakash Shah to the Supreme Court by the Supreme Court Collegium is unfair to judiciary itself. However, I hope that government of India was not a party to such mistake. Therefore, this is my humble submission that Justice Ajit Prakash Shah, should be appointed as Chief Information Commissioner of Central Information Commission, if he accept the assignment considering its importance in the larger public interest,’ the petition reads.
The petition has also been sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily.
The petition has found support from many across the country.
Advocate P.K. Ibrahim, who signed the petition, said: ‘Justice Ajit Prakash Shah is a man of conviction, courage and integrity. He is a right choice for consideration.’
Santhosh B. wrote from Bangalore: ‘Please appoint the right man for the job. Lives are at stake here so is the reputation of our country.’
Remembering Justice Shah’s days in Madras High Court, Sankara Narayanan wrote from Tamil Nadu: ‘Justice Shah is honest and meritorious in his judicial carrier. As Chief Justice of Madras High Court, he was very severe on polluters.’
Chand K. Sharma writes: ‘The UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government must show commitment to people by appointing Justice Ajit Prakash Shah as Chief Information Commissioner, in whom the public is expressing faith.’
Justice Shah bid adieu to all the fellow judges and other members of the court after 17 years in the judiciary Thursday, and said, ‘I cannot pretend that I was not hurt (for not being elevated to the Supreme Court). Sense of hurt is always there.’
‘I feel it’s for the people to judge whether I should be elevated or not.’ Shah, 62, told IANS in an interview.
Many eminent jurists had forwarded his name for elevation to the Supreme Court, but the deciding collegium was not moved.
The decision has drawn a lot of criticism, including from former chief justice of India J.S. Verma who described Shah as ‘one of the finest judges in the country’.
It was in Justice Shah’s tenure all judges of the Delhi High Court declared their assets and put it on the official website.
Shah also passed landmark judgements bring the office of the chief justice of India under the Right to Information Act and decriminalising homosexuality in the country.
The online petition can be viewed and signed at petitiononline.com/rtitimes.