President Patil all set to declare assets
President Patil has decided to declare her assets, setting a precedent for ministers and bureaucrats to follow.
Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson Archana Dutta made an announcement in this regard, saying, “The President of India is not required to declare his or her assets to any public authority. However, President Mrs Pratibha Devisingh Patil has decided to make the assets of her and her family public."
President took the decision even when the Central Information Commission (CIC) had suggested that it is not mandatory for the President to declare her assets. The CIC made this observation after assessing that various other functionaries like ministers, judges and election commissioners are making the disclosure voluntarily.
Passing the order in this regard, Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi underlined that the commission is not empowered to do so as it is not mandated under the RTI Act.
The observation came while hearing a plea of RTI activist Subhash Agarwal, seeking details of the assets of the President and her family.
However, sources revealed that President`s decision has nothing to do with the CIC suggestion. It was her personal decision to make the disclosures.
The sources added that the matter was on her mind ever since the issue came up. She is keeping up with the government’s motto of complete transparency for all public office-bearers.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had reminded the ministers about the annual declaration of assets along with that of their spouses. Former cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar had also written to the ministers on this on June 2.
More than 600 IAS officers of the 4,000-odd in the service have missed the May 31 deadline for declaration of assets, and the list of movable and immovable properties of IPS officers are still trickling in.