The BJP government in Goa has been flouting and circumventing every possible law. To ensure proper implementation of the Right to Information Act, the law has laid down that the State Information Commission should comprise of independent minded persons who do not succumb to the pulls and pressures of the politicians in power. Section 15(6) of the Right to Information Act mandates that the Chief Information Commissioner and the State Information Commissioner shall be persons not connected with any political party.
Contrary to the law it is no surprise that Goa Governor Mridula Sinha who is herself a BJP Karyakarta on a retirement posting in Goa has appointed local BJP Karyakartas Prashant Prabhu Tendolkar as Chief Information Commissioner and Juino de Souza as State Information Commissioner both of whom have been very closely connected and actively associated with the BJP.
Section 15(5) of the Right to Information Act also mandates that the Chief Information Commissioner and the State Information Commissioner shall be persons of eminence in public life. Both Prashant Prabhu Tendolkar and Juino de Souza have vivid impediments to them occupying these high constitutional posts which mandatorily require eminence in public life which the two clearly do not possess.
Prashant Prabhu Tendolkar, an Advocate from Ponda was in September 2013 through a very politically orchestrated move appointed by the BJP as the Additional President of Goa Administrative Tribunal and he retired in February this year on attaining the age of 60. The very fact that he was appointed to that post very close to his retirement age was evidently a launching pad to get him later appointed as the Chief Information Commissioner. There needs to be a probe into the huge assets acquired by Prashant Prabhu Tendolkar and his family over the last few years. Prashant Prabhu Tendolkar is also known to be a leading broker in mega land deals including that very controversial 5 crore property acquired at Darbhandora by the former PWD Principal Chief Engineer Anand Wachasundar, one of the accused in the infamous Louis Berger-JICA case.
Similarly the BJP on coming to power in March 2012 accommodated its other Karyakarta Juino de Souza as Member of the Executive Council of Goa University and also Member of the Executive Board of Institute Menezes Braganza while he continued to be very closely connected with the BJP. Interestingly by an order passed on 6th December 2006 the Bombay High Court at Goa had directed that Juino de Souza be assessed by a Psychiatrist. By another order dated 20th December 2006 the High Court opined that he should continue visiting a Psychiatrist. Juino de Souza was also fined Rs 5000 by the Bombay High Court at Goa for distorting an order of the Court.
The selection process of Prashant Prabhu Tendolkar for the post of Chief Information Commissioner and Juino de Souza as State Information Commissioner has clearly lacked transparency. It was very obviously a stage managed mere eyewash to accommodate them to these plump positions on account of their very close links with the BJP. The Goa State Information Commission now stands comatised with the implementation of the RTI Act in the State of Goa laid to rest. All this after the BJP’s tall promise of Transparency in administration and Good Governance.