M A I N   N E W S

President Patil to declare assets

New Delhi, June 18
Breaking new ground, President Pratibha Patil has decided to declare assets. This is the first time that the country’s President will be making assets public although there is no law that mandates her to do so.

Patil’s decision comes close on the heels of a suggestion from the Central Information Commission that it was for the President of India to take a call on placing her and her family's property details in the public domain.

“The President of India is not required to declare his/her assets to any public authority. However, President Patil will declare it,” Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson Archana Dutta said here today.

She declined to comment on whether Patil's family members would also be declaring their assets and said she was authorised to speak only on the President’s behalf. Asked when would the assets be made public, the spokesperson said, “Soon”.

Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi had earlier this week said that he had no powers under the RTI Act to pass any direction asking the President to declare her assets. “The Commission cannot pass any direction in this regard, as it does not come within the Commission's powers as mandated under the RTI Act. Now that various functionaries like ministers, judges and Information Commissioners have voluntarily put up their assets online, it is for the President to take a decision on this matter,” he had said.

Rashtrapati Bhavan officials, however, maintained that Patil's decision has nothing to do with the CIC suggestion and she wanted to disclose assets on her own accord.

Earlier this month, the Prime Minister had reminded ministers about the annual declaration of assets and business interests along with those of their spouses. — PTI





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