President patil all set to declare assets
New Delhi June 19:
When the current central government is battling a spade of corruption charges, country’s President Pratibha Patil is setting a shining example of transparency.
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."
Patil took the decision though the Central Information Commission (CIC) had suggested that it is not mandatory for the President to declare her assets. The CIC made this observation even after assessing that various other functionaries like ministers, judges and election commissioners were making disclosures voluntarily. Passing the order in this regard, Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi underlined that the commission is not expected 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 ministers about the annual declaration of assets along with that of their spouses. Former cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar had also written to ministers in this regard on June 02. 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.