Ilapuram Raja took charge as the Right to Information Commissioner of Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday in the presence of state chief secretary LV Subrahmanyam.
Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimhan cleared Raja's name on May 7, and he took charge as RTI commissioner today after a government order was released in this regard on May 14. He will serve in this position for the next five years.
Chandrababu Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government had recommended two names to the governor for filling up the position of Information commissioner on March 7. However, on March 11, the governor had returned the file to the state government citing Model Code of Conduct (MCC) as the reason.
The state government then sought clearance from the ECI on March 29 for the appointment of a new RTI commissioner. On April 4, the file was again sent to the governor. The state government sent two names - Ilapuram Raja and Eerla Srirama Murty. The nod for Raja was given by the governor on May 7.
Raja is a hotelier, president of Vijayawada Hotel Owners Association and son of a former MLC. Opposition parties alleged that TDP politicised the institution of information commissioner.
Meanwhile, a petition is filed in the Andhra Pradesh High Court stating that Raja's appointment is invalid.
Jana Chaitanya Vedika president Lakshman Reddy filed a lunch motion petition. His lawyer argued that the act categorically restricts appointing businessmen for the position.
The Andhra Pradesh high court bench adjourned hearing to May 29 and ordered the government to file counter on that day. (ANI)