While Ramanujam’s appointment drew the ire of the then Opposition DMK which claimed a breach of protocol in candidate selection itself in contravention to the prescribed rules, RTI activists who describe the postings as political wanted the state to make an exception and appoint officials of apolitical stature instead.
Ramanujam’s appointment came as a surprise and a closely guarded secret until the day before swearing-in. On August 9, 2015, Ramanujam was sworn-in by the then Governor K Rosaiah.
Two Information Commissioners sworn-in alongside Ramanujam were R Dakshinamurthy, and G Murugan.
He succeeded KS Sripathi, whose tenure ended on April 27, 2015. Ramanujam was promoted and posted as DGP (Intelligence) in May 2011, and was given full additional charge as DGP (Law and Order). A day before his retirement, he was made a full time DGP (Law & Order) in November 2012, and was given a fixed tenure of two years as per the Supreme Court guidelines.
When his appointment was made public, DMK working president MK Stalin charged that the appointment committee had failed to follow procedures.
“Ramanujam has maintained status-quo like his predecessor. We approached him seeking time for a personal meeting to suggest reforms about a year ago. We received a reply from the registrar of State Information Panel suggesting that our request is under process, and we have not heard from him thereafter. We want the ruling government to make an exception and appoint an apolitical official who would dispense of his duties within the framework of law and without foregoing the spirit of the RTI Act,” said Siva Ilango of Satta Panchayat Iyakkam.
When contacted, Ramanujam confirmed to DT Next that he was due to retire next month. Asked whether he was aware of any steps being taken by the state to fill his vacancy, the retired IPS official maintained that appointments to the Commission would not be made known to them until it was made public.
Fisheries minister D Jayakumar said that efforts are on to fill the vacancy. “We have 3 weeks time, and it will be done as per law,” Jayakumar who also holds the portfolio of Personnel and Administrative Reforms added. The Appointments Committee will be led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. Other members include the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly and a Cabinet Minister nominated by the CM.