Jump to content
Atul Patankar

Assets of ministers, kin exempted from RTI queries: PMO

Recommended Posts

Atul Patankar

As reported by The Hindu on February 1, 2009

 

 

New Delhi (PTI): The PMO has decided to keep the assets of ministers and their relatives under wraps saying information in this regard is exempted from the Right to Information Act.

 

In a reply to the application of RTI applicant Subhash Chandra Agrawal, the PMO has termed the information as exempt under the Section 8 of the RTI Act and refused to divulge it for the same.

 

The PMO had reportedly provided the details to the cabinet secretariat to facilitate answering of RTI applications in this regard but later took an about turn and denied the information to the applicant.

 

Agrawal had filed an RTI application last year seeking seeking details of assets of Union Ministers and their relatives for the last two years from Cabinet Secretariat. The letter was forwarded to Prime Minister's Office for necessary action on the application.

 

"In a letter dated May 19, 2008 the PMO provided the details of assets and liabilities of members of Union Council of Ministers to cabinet secretariat to deal with such RTI applications," Agrawal said.

 

"But after that I did not get any response from either of the offices. I had even moved an application with the Central Information Commission in this regard," he added.

 

After six months, PMO in a letter dated December 17, 2008 told Agrawal that the information sought could not be provided as it was exempt under the RTI Act provisions. The office sought exemption under clauses 8(1)(e) and 8(1)(j) which relate to immunity granted to "documents fiduciary relationship" and "Cabinet Documents" under the RTI Act, 2005 respectively.

 

Source : The Hindu News Update Service

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Atul Patankar

As reported at www.indianexpress.com on February 2, 2009

PMO U-turn on RTI, won't reveal ministers' assets

 

New Delhi: If the Supreme Court is on a refusal mode as far as disclosing the assets of its judges are concerned, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) seems to be faring hardly any better.

 

In a turn of events drawing parallel to the higher judiciary’s denial to provide information about the declaration of assets, the PMO is reportedly keen to keep the assets of “Union Ministers, their spouses and dependent children” under wraps.

 

Worse still, the PMO is alleged to have done a virtual U-turn while acting on a Right to Information (RTI) query by initially forwarding the information on the ministers’ “updated assets till May 14, 2008”, but later backtracking on its response claiming RTI exemption for “documents held in fiduciary relationship” — a star argument earlier made by the Supreme Court for refusing to comply with RTI.

 

The turn of events came on an RTI petition filed by Subhash Agarwal, a textile businessman from Delhi, on April 28 last year to the Cabinet Secretariat, seeking details of “assets, wealth, income with Union ministers, spouses and their dependent children for the last two years or as is available”. The Cabinet Secretariat forwarded the request to the PMO on May 5 stating that the information sought was “more closely connected with the functions” of the latter public authority.

 

"The PMO had reacted by sending an office memo to the Secretariat on May 19, enclosing an updated list of assets enjoyed by Union ministers till May 14, 2008,” Agarwal said.

 

Receiving no communication for the next five months, Agarwal decided to follow up his request by shooting off a letter to the Secretariat on October 4. “The letter was plainly ignored,” he claimed.

 

On December 17, the PMO told Agrawal that the information sought could not be provided as it was exempt under the RTI Act provisions. The office sought exemption claiming immunity granted to “documents held in fiduciary relationship” and “Cabinet documents”, respectively.

 

“I sent an e-mail to CIC Wajahat Habibullah on January 30, 2009, requesting him to take up the matter, especially the reason behind the U-turn made by the PMO, on an urgent basis,” the RTI applicant said.

 

Source: PMO U-turn on RTI, won't reveal ministers' assets

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MOHANDAS

There the provisions of RTI Act under Sec. 8 is being misused.

It is a known factor that most of the Ministers, Higher officers/Public functionaries amase wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income. When the limit exceeds in order to conceal the income, every often Public functionaries used to keep these income in the name of ther kith & kins. In the event of not furnishing the same taking shelter of the Sec. 8 provisions of RTI Act 2005, then surely this is a diluation of the powerful act from the Higher office such as PMO. What is the harm in divulging the information to the information seeker ? If someone is trying to hide in this regard the assets of Ministers, higher officers/public functionaries, then the direction goes on the ohter way that these officials got assets disproportionate to their known source of income, which they held in the names of their close relatives or kith & kin, thus do not want to furnish the same taking shelter under Sec 8 of the RTI Act 2005.

 

The CPIO/PIO of the higher offices should not curtail such information if sought by an RTI Applicant rather furnish the same and set a moral to be followed. On the contrary, it will create a precedence and gradually other offices shall not furnish the information citing example from PMO's office, which is very unfortunate. One request - please do not dilute the spirit of the RTI Act by unnecessarily inflicting the provisons of Sec. 8. Rather the spirit of the Act should be used in a judicious way taking the matters in its right perspective.

 

MOHANDAS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Atul Patankar

As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on February 2, 2009

Assets of ministers, kin exempt from RTI: PMO

 

NEW DELHI: At a time when pressure is mounting on the judiciary to disclose its assets, the executive wing of the government has come into the limelight for its attitude towards transparency.

 

In a decision that could have a far-reaching impact on administrative accountability, the PMO, widely seen as leading the government towards transparency has decided to withhold information related to assets of ministers and their relatives.

 

Responding to a query by applicant Subhash Chandra Agrawal, the PMO termed the information as exempt under clauses 8(1)(e) and 8(1)(j) which relate to immunity granted to "documents fiduciary relationship" and "Cabinet documents" under the RTI Act.

 

Agrawal has now filed an appeal with the Central Information Commission.

 

Significantly, the PMO had initially agreed to part with the information. But in a curious U-turn on December 17, 2008, the PMO held that details sought by the applicant were exempt from disclosure. The `no' was repeated on January 27, 2009, when Agrawal persisted with his effort.

 

It was last year that Agrawal had filed the RTI application seeking details of assets of Union ministers and their relatives for the last two years from cabinet secretariat. The letter was forwarded to Prime Minister's Office for necessary action.

 

In his appeal, Agrawal points to the PMO's reversal of stance. "The PMO was ready to divulge the information but there has been a change in decision," Agrawal said.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Atul Patankar

As reported by ibnlive.in.com on February 2, 2009

 

RTI activist upset with PMO over ministers' assets issue

 

New Delhi: RTI petitioner Subhash Chandra Agrawal is upset over the Prime Minister's Office making an U-turn on the issue of ministers declaring their assets.

 

"On December 17, 2008, the PMO took an U-turn and sent me a letter that information sought was protected under 81E and J relating to fiduciary and personal information of RTI Act and it cannot be disclosed, In another petition the Union Home Ministry had said that Union Ministers are not government servants," said Agrawal.

 

Agrawal was reacting to PMO's decision that information in this regard be kept exempted from the Right to Information Act.

 

On May 19, 2008, the PMO had reportedly provided details of assets of ministers to the Cabinet Secretariat, to facilitate answering of RTI applications.

 

But in a letter dated December 17, the PMO refused to divulge details sought by Agrawal.

 

It termed the information as exempt under the Section 8 of the RTI Act.

 

Agrawal had filed an RTI application last year seeking details of assets of Union Ministers and their relatives for the last two years.

 

The office sought exemption under clauses 8(1)(e) and 8(1)(j) which relate to immunity granted to "documents fiduciary relationship" and "Cabinet Documents" under the RTI Act, 2005 respectively

 

Source : RTI activist upset with PMO over ministers' assets issue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Atul Patankar

Bureau report at zeenews.com on February 2, 2009

Assets of ministers, kins exempted from RTI queries: PMO

 

New Delhi, Feb 02: The PMO has decided to keep the assets of ministers and their relatives under wraps saying information in this regard is exempted from the Right to Information Act.

 

In a reply to the application of RTI applicant Subhash Chandra Agrawal, the PMO has termed the information as exempt under the Section 8 of the RTI Act and refused to divulge it for the same.

 

The PMO had reportedly provided the details to the cabinet secretariat to facilitate answering of RTI applications in this regard but later took an about turn and denied the information to the applicant.

 

Agrawal had filed an RTI application last year seeking seeking details of assets of Union ministers and their relatives for the last two years from Cabinet Secretariat. The letter was forwarded to Prime Minister's Office for necessary action on the application.

 

"In a letter dated May 19, 2008 the PMO provided the details of assets and liabilities of members of Union Council of Ministers to cabinet secretariat to deal with such RTI applications," Agrawal said.

 

"But after that I did not get any response from either of the offices. I had even moved an application with the Central Information Commission in this regard," he added.

 

After six months, PMO in a letter dated December 17, 2008 told Agrawal that the information sought could not be provided as it was exempt under the RTI Act provisions.

 

The office sought exemption under clauses 8(1)(e) and 8(1)(j) which relate to immunity granted to "documents fiduciary relationship" and "Cabinet Documents" under the RTI Act, 2005 respectively.

 

Source : Assets of ministers, kin exempted from RTI queries: PMO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
karira

An editorial in navhindtimes.com on 03 February 2009:

Leading by Example: Navhindtimes.com, Goa

Leading by Example

 

AFTER the judiciary refused to comply with an RTI petition to disclose the assets of the judges, it is the turn of the executive to stonewall any such move. Interesting, the move to block the information has come from the PMO that has been swearing by transparency and probity in public life. Though the government had earlier agreed to furnish the information and had even directed the cabinet secretary to provide the applicant detailed information, it made a U-turn and on January 27 it finally declined. This act of the PMO would defeat the purpose and intentions of the RTI Act and turn it irrelevant as a minister is a public figure and he is accountable to the people of the country. Moreover if he can declare his assets at the time of filing his nomination papers what is the harm in making public his assets while he is working as a minister? People have a right to know how their elected representative was using his office. Concealing information is ridiculous as at least five UPA ministers are suspect and one of them the Railway Minister, Mr Lalu Prasad is already involved in a disproportionate assets case which is lying before the Patna High Court. This would expose the ministers to greater public scrutiny. Apparently this action of the PMO is related to the reluctance of the judiciary to part with the information. The time has come for the judiciary too to be more transparent. Significantly, Mr Justice Nirmal Yadav of Punjab and Haryana High Court accused in the cash-in-bag scam had already written to the Supreme Court Chief Justice to probe against all judges facing the allegations. One High Court judge in Kolkata and some UP judges are also under the scanner. The judiciary must lead others by example.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
karira

An edit in navbharattimes.indiatimes.com on 02 February 2009:

????????? ?? ???? ??????????? ?? ??????? RTI ?? ????? ?? ???? ????? ??? -?????? ??-????? ???-Navbharat Times

 

मंत्रियों और उनके रिश्तेदारों की संपत्ति RTI के दायरे से बाहर क्यों हो?

 

अब तो सरकार ने खुलेआम कह दिया है कि मंत्रियों की और उनके रिश्तेदारों की संपत्ति का ब्यौरा नहीं देंगे। मतलब साफ है। मंत्री और उनके

रिश्तेदार जितनी चाहे संपत्ति इकट्ठी करें , इस पर कोई सवाल नहीं उठा सकता। इस सूचना को सूचना के अधिकार से बाहर की बात करार दिया गया है। अब आप पूछ नहीं सकते कि आपके मंत्री के पास कितनी संपत्ति है और क्यों है। उनके रिश्तेदारों के बारे में भी नहीं पूछ सकते।

 

दिलचस्प बात यह है कि पीएमओ ने तो मंत्रियों की संपत्ति का ब्यौरा कैबिनिट सचिव को दे दिया था , लेकिन कैबिनिट सचिव ने इसे सार्वजनिक करने से इनकार कर दिया। हाल ही में सूचना आयुक्त वजाहत हबीबुल्लाह ने कहा कि आईएएस अधिकारियों को बाकायदा ट्रेनिंग दी जाती है सूचनाएं छिपाने के लिए। हाल का यह मामला उसी का एक नमूना है। लेकिन यह सवाल सिर्फ एक सूचना का नहीं , हमारे अधिकार का है।

 

क्यों ? आखिर क्यों हमें हक नहीं है अपनी ही सरकार के मंत्रियों और रिश्तेदारो के बारे में सवाल पूछने का। वे हमारे प्रतिनिधि हैं , शासक नहीं। उन्हें हमने मंत्री हम पर राज करने के लिए नहीं बनाया है , बल्कि हमारा प्रतिनिधित्व करने के लिए बनाया है। फिर उन्हें किस अधिकार से यह सूचना छिपाने की छूट मिल रही है ? और यही सब करना था , तो सूचना के अधिकार को कानून बनाने का ड्रामा क्यों किया गया ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
karira

As reported in hindustantimes.com on 03 February 2009:

Ministers, officers should disclose assets: Minister- Hindustan Times

 

Ministers, officers should disclose assets: Minister

 

Union Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh on Monday favoured "public disclosure" of assets by all ministers, officers and top industrialists, notwithstanding PMO's decision to keep such information related to ministers and their relatives under wraps. "I do not know where is the problem but in my opinion the life of a person leading a public life should be like an open book," Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a conference here when asked why there are obstructions to declaration of assets by ministers.

 

Singh, the Vice President of key UPA ally RJD, however, at the same time did not appear favouring asset-declaration under RTI.

 

"No RTI. There should self disclosure. People should themselves make it public," Singh said.

 

The PMO has decided to keep the assets of ministers and their relatives under wraps saying such information was exempted from the Right to Information Act.

 

The PMO's response came in reply to an RTI application seeking details of the assets of ministers and their relatives. Singh, however, felt, "be it a minister, the minister's relatives, big shots in politics, industrialists or top officers all should disclose their properties."

 

Singh also accused the opposition NDA of sabotaging a bill moved by him for this purpose in the past.

 

"I had moved a bill in the Lok Sabha during the NDA regime. The Bill suggested an arrangement in which information regarding assets of those in public life would be available just like telephone numbers in a directory. But they (NDA government) did not let it pass," he said.

 

"People should know... What additions or subtractions he made during his public life," Singh added.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
digitalit

RTI IS NOT A GOD said by Law minister H R Bhardwaj on the issue of assets of ministers and their relatives.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
karira

As reported in ddnews.gov.in on 17 March 2009:

'Speaker's nod needed to disclose assets of ministers from LS' - www.ddinews.com

'Speaker's nod needed to disclose assets of ministers from LS'

 

The CIC has referred the matter on public disclosure of assets of Union ministers belonging to Lok Sabha, under the Right to Information Act, to the Speaker.

 

In its observation, the CIC said, "...because under the Lok Sabha Rules...such information is not disclosable except with the permission of the Speaker, the matter will be referred to Somnath Chatterjee, Speaker of the Lok Sabha for disclosure of such information as relates to those Members of the Council of Ministers who are Members of the Lok Sabha."

 

Regarding the ministers belonging to Rajya Sabha, the Central Information Commission (CIC) said if there is a similar rule for the House, the same could also be exercised or else the matter be referred to the third parties (ministers in this case) to seek nod for disclosing the assets.

 

"If there is any equivalent Rule with regard to the Rajya Sabha, this may also be exercised, although, we were not told of existence of any such Rules during the hearing," it said.

 

"If no such rules in fact exist, the matter will be referred to the third parties concerned...This process may be completed within 30 working days of the date of issue of the Decision Notice," Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said.

 

The Commission rejected the argument of PMO that details of assets and liabilities of ministers were in fiduciary relationship, and said, "To argue a fiduciary relationship in submission of such statements to PMO, when such statements have in any case under law also to be made available at the time of election before the Election Commission of India, is not in our view a valid argument."

 

The matter relates to RTI application of Subhash Chandra Agrawal who sought information on assets, wealth and income of members of all the ministers in the Union Ministry for the last two years.

 

But the matter kept scuttling between the PMO and Cabinet Secretariat as who holds the requisite information. In December last year, the PMO informed Agrawal that information could not be given as it was exempt from disclosure.

 

The CIC, however, made reference to a Supreme Court judgement said, "When there is a competition between the right to privacy of an individual and the right to information of the citizens, the former right has to be subordinated to the latter right as it serves larger public interest."

 

"The right to know about the candidate who intends to become a public figure and a representative of the people would not be effective and real if only truncated information of the assets and liabilities is given," it added.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Atul Patankar

As reported by Krishnadas Rajagopal at www.indianexpress.com on 16 March 2009

 

New Delhi : Assets of the Union Council of Ministers and their kin will be open for public scrutiny under the Right to Information Act, provided the Lok Sabha Speaker gives his nod first, the Central Information Commission (CIC) on Monday said.

 

“As per the Lok Sabha Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Rules, information held in confidence is not disclosable, except with the permission of the Speaker. The matter will be referred to Shri Somnath Chatterjee, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, for disclosure if information relates to Members of the Council of Ministers from the Lok Sabha,” Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah directed.

 

In case of the Rajya Sabha, the CIC said, “If there is any equivalent rule with regard to the Rajya Sabha, the same may also be exercised. If no such rules in fact exist, the matter will be referred to the third parties concerned.” The Bench gave 30 days’ time to the Upper House to draft the necessary rules for kick-starting a procedure.

 

The Bench dismissed the contentions of the Prime Ministers’ Office (PMO) that ministers divulged details of their assets to it in a “fiduciary” nature. “To argue a fiduciary relationship in submission of statements (on assets) to PMO, when such statements have in any case under law also to be made available at t the time of election before the Election Commission of India, is not in our view a valid argument,” Habibullah observed in his judgment. Arguing for RTI appellant SC Agarwal, his counsel and senior Supreme Court lawyer, Kamini Jaiswal, submitted before the Bench that “it is very much in the public interest to know of the assets of the Ministers holding public office and particularly, what property they may have acquired after the declaration of their assets before the Election Commission of India”.

 

Source: Cabinet asset details only if Somnath says so: CIC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sandeepbaheti

How does the Lok Sabha rule come into play so long as Sec 22 is there in place?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
karira

As reported by Nagendar Sharma in hindustantimes.com on 29 March 2009:

Ministers? assets to be made public- Hindustan Times

 

Ministers’ assets to be made public

 

In a major step towards transparency in public life of politicians, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee has made it clear that the wealth details of Union ministers, their spouses and children would be made public.

 

The Speaker’s statement has put an end to the controversy, which arose after the the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) denied to divulge the information under the Right to Information Act (RTI).

 

The information watchdog, the Central Information Commission (CIC), had left the matter to the Speaker while deciding the appeal of Delhi resident S.C. Aggarwal. He had approached the commission after the PMO had refused to provide him with the details.

 

Asked about his view on the matter, the Speaker said: “The Prime Minister’s Office was probably inspired by some other high institutions. The same yardstick would be applied to hon’ble ministers who are members of the Lok Sabha, as are applied to MPs.”

 

The Speaker said he would decide on the matter “as soon as it is put up before him.”

 

Chatterjee had allowed the Lok Sabha Secretariat to provide information on MPs assets details, soon after the RTI Act came into existence in October 2005, though the Parliament rules provide for this information to be kept confidential.

 

“The rules say that the information provided in a sealed cover to the presiding officer of each House is confidential and can be opened only by the presiding officer. However, in keeping with the spirit of the RTI Act, I asked my office to provide details sought by the public,” Chatterjee said.

 

The CIC, in its order, had made it clear that since the presiding officer of the respective House of Parliament of which the ministers are members holds their wealth details, “therefore the matter is referred to Somnath Chatterjee, the Lok Sabha Speaker.”

 

The commission pointed out that the information sought “was held in confidence, as is recognised by the Lok Sabha rules, and therefore required third party reference — that is the Speaker’s reference.”

 

About those ministers who are members of Rajya Sabha, the CIC ruled that the same yardstick as Lok Sabha would be applicable to them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
karira

As reported by Sudhir Kumar in samaylive.com on 21 April 2009:

Rajya Sabha to provide asset details of ministers under RTI :: Samay Live

Rajya Sabha to provide asset details of ministers under RTI

 

New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha has agreed to provide asset details of the union ministers, who are members of the house, to an RTI applicant.

 

The Rajya Sabha secretariat while replying to an RTI query from activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, said details about assets and liabilities of 16 out of 18 union ministers belonging to Rajya Sabha were available with it. It also asked Agrawal to deposit requisite fee for the papers.

 

Agrawal wanted information on assets, wealth and income of all the ministers in the UPA government and their spouse. But the matter kept scuttling between the PMO and Cabinet Secretariat as who holds the requisite information.

 

In December last year, the PMO informed Agrawal that details could not be given as the information was exempted from disclosure.

 

During the hearing of the plea, CIC referred the matter to the speakers of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha saying "such information is not disclosable except with the permission of the Speaker." After the decision, Agrawal filed fresh RTI applications to both the houses in the same matter.

 

"You had sought information regarding assets and wealth of ministers in the Union Council of Ministers including their spouse and dependent children. The...Information is now available," the Secretariat responded.

 

Earlier the CIC while referring the matter to the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha held, "the matter will be referred to Somnath Chatterjee, Speaker of the Lok Sabha for disclosure of such information as relates to those Members of the Council of Ministers who are Members of the Lok Sabha." Regarding the ministers belonging to Rajya Sabha, the Central Information Commission (CIC) said if there is a similar rule for the House, the same could also be exercised or else the matter be referred to the third parties (ministers in this case) to seek nod for disclosing the assets.

 

"If there is any equivalent rule with regard to the Rajya Sabha, this may also be exercised, although, we were not told of existence of any such rules during the hearing," it said.

 

The Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah based its decision on a Supreme Court Judgement which said, "The right to know about the candidate who intends to become a public figure and a representative of the people would not be effective and real if only truncated information of the assets and liabilities is given.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
karira

As reported in hindu.com on 05 May 2009:

The Hindu News Update Service

14 ministers from Rajya Sabha worth over Rs 1 crore each

 

New Delhi (PTI) The Rajya Sabha has disclosed asset details of 18 ministers belonging to the House and said 14 of them including their spouses and dependents have assets worth over Rs 1 crore each.

 

The Upper House made the disclosure following an RTI application by activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal.

 

Mr. Agrawal had sought details of asset declarations made by the ministers before the House under the Members of Rajya Sabha (Declaration of Assets and Liability) Rules, 2004.

 

Asset details of Saif-ud-din Soz and G K Vasan were, however, not available as Soz's 90-day time limit, prescribed for filing the details has not been completed whereas Mr. Vasan's form was not complete, the RTI reply said.

 

According to the list given by the house, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel is the richest member-minister from the Rajya Sabha with declared assets worth Rs 31.89 crore. His wife Varsha Patel has Rs 4.96 crore, making the combined assets of the couple worth about Rs 37 crore. Seventeen other ministers from the House including their spouses and dependents are worth over Rs 1 crore each, the reply said.

 

In his latest affidavit before the Election Commission, Mr. Praful Patel has declared assets worth Rs 38 crores.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
karira

As reported by Himanshi Dhawan of TNN in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 06 May 2009:

Guns, trucks among RS ministers' assets - India - The Times of India

 

Guns, trucks among RS ministers' assets

 

NEW DELHI: PM Manmohan Singh may jet across half the world to meet world leaders but he appears most comfortable in his Maruti 800. While the PM

has retained the car long after it went out of fashion, law minister H R Bharadwaj's preoccupation appears to be guns -- he owns two of them -- when not parrying questions on Q.

 

Civil aviation minister Praful Patel is on top of the world in more than one respect. He also happens to be the richest Cabinet minister from Rajya Sabha with a combined worth of Rs 46.8 crore. These include land holdings/flats owned by Patel, his wife and four dependent children in prime locations like Napeansea Road and Worli in Mumbai.

 

These are part of the details disclosed by the Rajya Sabha secretariat on its members who are also in the Union Cabinet. The disclosure was made in response to a Right to Information query filed by applicant Subhash Chandra Agarwal asking for asset declaration of ministers' and their kin.

 

There are 18 members of the Rajya Sabha who are currently in the council of ministers. Of the lot, water resources minister Saifuddin Soz has not filed his returns as the stipulated 90 day period prescribed for filing declaration of assets for him is not over yet while details submitted by G K Vasan were found incomplete.

 

If Patel is on top of the heap, defence minister A K Antony has the least financial muscle with a combined worth of Rs 17.9 lakh. Petroleum minister Murli Deora follows Patel at the top with a combined worth of Rs 35 crore while minister of state for industry Ashwani Kumar is a distant third with assets worth Rs 8.7 crore. Kumar and sports minister M S Gill (worth Rs 2.5 crore) have larger investments in shares and mutual funds than others.

 

If the PM's choice of vehicle is surprising despite his combined worth of Rs 4.3 crore, so is HRD minister Arjun Singh's. The latter owns four Tata trucks while parliamentary affairs minister Vayalar Ravi and power minister Sushilkumar Shinde own Fiats.

 

Tourism minister Ambika Soni is not too badly off with a combined worth of Rs 7.5 crore including Rs 3.32 lakh in silver utensils and properties in Panchsheel Park in Delhi, land holdings in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh owned by her husband. MoS (Prime Minister's Office) Prithviraj Chavan has a combined worth of Rs 2.8 crore while MoS external affairs Anand Sharma, his wife and sons have assets worth Rs 2.5 crore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
karira

As reported in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 10 Aug 2010

?Disclosure of minister?s assets is PMO?s call? - India - The Times of India

 

‘Disclosure of minister’s assets is PMO’s call’

 

NEW DELHI: The executive on Monday lost another excuse to prevent disclosure of ministers' assets after the Lok Sabha Secretariat rejected a request from the Prime Minister's Office seeking the legislature's permission.

 

The LS secretariat declined the request saying the RTI Act does not have any provision for giving such "clearances''. This means the PMO has to take a call on whether details of ministers' wealth should be disclosed or not.

 

Incidentally, the reference to the LS secretariat came on the directions of the Central Information Commission.

 

Chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah had in an order said, "PMO will refer the application with respect to those ministers who are members of the Lok Sabha to Speaker Meira Kumar and those who are members of the Rajya Sabha to Chairman Hamid Ansari for permission to disclose the information, on receipt of which the information will be provided.'' His order came on a RTI application filed by S C Agrawal.

 

The secretariat asked the PMO to take a call under relevant sections of the RTI Act and the "spirit underlying" the order of the CIC but maintained the House is providing these details about ministers in their capacity as MPs.

 

Responding to PMO's request, the LS secretariat said, "The RTI Act does not anywhere provide for giving clearance by one public authority to another public authority for providing information being maintained by that public authority to an applicant by the RTI Act. Under the circumstances, it is felt that the instant reference is not required to be placed before Speaker Lok Sabha.''

 

The members of the House have to declare their assets and liabilities within 90 days of taking oath as MPs under Rule 3 of the Members of the Lok Sabha (Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Rules, 2004), it said.

 

"On request for information regarding assets and liabilities regarding ministers being maintained by the PMO, they may take a considered view of the application keeping in view the provisions if any, pertaining to confidentiality of information furnished by the ministers to the PMO, provisions of the section 22 of the RTI Act and the spirit underlying the CIC decision,'' it said.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MOHANDAS

Thank you Shri Kariraji for posting the useful information and

updating the information in its right perspective. In the given

context of the salary hike of MPs, it is most relevant.

 

MOHANDAS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
karira

As reported by IANS in newkerala.com on 29 August 2010:

Ministers' assets: RTI activist says PMO withholding details .:. newkerala.com Online News - United States 30793

 

Ministers' assets: RTI activist says PMO withholding details

 

New Delhi, Aug 29: A right to information (RTI) activist has urged the Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah to question the Prime Minister's

Office (PMO) for not giving details of union ministers' wealth.

 

RTI activist Subash Chandra Agrawal has asked Habibullah to issue a notice "for non-compliance of its (CIC) earlier order of providing the details of the assets of union ministers".

 

In a letter to the CIC, Agrawal recalled that the CIC directed the PMO in June to provide "complete details of the wealth and assets of the ministers available with the PMO".

 

The CIC order said the details could be shared after seeking the permission of the presiding officers of the two houses of parliament.

 

"Despite getting a clearance from the two houses, the PMO is not complying with the order of the CIC, which is a de-facto denial of information under the RTI Act," Agrawal said.

 

In such a situation, the CIC should issue a notice to the PMO for non-compliance of its order and denial of information, Agrawal said.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
karira

As reported by PTI in ndtv.com on 06 September 2010:

Showcause notice to PMO for non-compliance of CIC orders

 

Showcause notice to PMO for non-compliance of CIC orders

 

New Delhi: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has issued a show-cause notice to the Prime Minister's Office regarding "non-compliance" of its order relating to disclosure of union ministers' assets.

 

"The Commission has directed the CPIO in Prime Minister's Office to dispose complaint within 10 days. ....the appellant has been repeatedly approaching the Commission stating...that the requested information has not been provided," the Commission said in its notice.

 

It directed the Central Public Information Officer to "submit an action taken report specifically in regard to the non-compliance of the order" by September 10.

 

The case relates to S C Agrawal who sought to know from the Cabinet Secretariat the information on assets, wealth and income of all union ministers. The matter was later referred to the PMO.

 

The Commission had on June 7 this year directed the PMO to disclose the assets of union ministers after getting clearance from the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairman.

 

The Commission had directed the PMO to complete the exercise within 10 days of receiving the decision.

 

"Failure to receive a response within a reasonable time will, however, be construed as acquiescence in the light of previous decisions given by each of the heads of both Houses," Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said on a plea of Agrawal.

 

Habibullah directed the Prime Minister's Office to refer the RTI application with respect to those ministers who are Lok Sabha Members to Speaker Meira Kumar and those who are Members of Rajya Sabha to Chairman Hamid Ansari for permission to disclose the assets and liabilities of the ministers.

 

The CIC has said that after getting requisite details the information would be furnished to Agrawal.

 

But the PMO even after getting the necessary orders from the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha did not provide the details, alleged Agrawal before the Commission.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Atul Patankar

As reported by Swaraj Thapa at indianexpress.com on Sep 08 2010

 

RTI effect: Ministers will have to declare latest assets

 

New Delhi : Forced by an RTI application, the government today decided to declare the assets and liabilities of Union ministers on demand by the public.

The Union Cabinet approved a proposal to adopt norms for greater transparency after RTI activist Subhash Agrawal asked the Central Information Commission (CIC) to issue a notice to the PMO for not providing details of assets of ministers and their kin following an RTI application.

 

Agrawal complained of “non-compliance” by the PMO after it failed to provide “complete details of wealth and assets of ministers” despite a CIC order.

 

Sources said that the Cabinet approved the proposal without much discussion, though ministers have in the past ignored reminders by the PMO to annually update declared records of their wealth. The PMO had issued such a directive after the government was formed in May 2009.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Atul Patankar

Great news, if actually complied with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
karira

As reported by Chetan Chauhan in hindustantimes.com on 10 September 2010:

Ministers' assets made public - Hindustan Times

 

Ministers' assets made public

 

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel is the richest cabinet minister in UPA-II whereas Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee is among the poorest. The Prime Ministers' Office has provided details of assets and liabilities of 77 ministers in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's council, submitted for the first

time under the Right to Information Act.

 

The ministers are required to submit details of their assets and liabilities to the Prime Minister's Office every year.

 

Getting the information was not easy for RTI activist Subhash Chandra Aggarwal, who sought the information in January 2009. The PMO had initially refused, saying it was the ministers' private information and therefore, could not be shared under the law.

 

Chandra filed an appeal with the Central Information Commission, which overruled the PMO's decision last month asked its Public Information Officer Sanjukta Rat to seek the consent of individual ministers on revealing the information.

 

On Monday, the cabinet agreed to provide the data and by Thursday, it was delivered to Chandra.

 

"It is victory for transparency and honesty of the Prime Minister," he said.

 

Chandra also demanded that the annual details of assets and wealth of all Parliamentarians be put on a website to improve transparency in governance.

 

As per the data, the top ministers of UPA-II who have assets of more than Rs 1 crore include Home Minister P Chidambaram, Finance Minister S M Krishna, Finance Minister Pranab Mukerjee and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Atul Patankar

As reported by HIMANSHI DHAWAN at economictimes.indiatimes.com on 11 SEP, 2010

 

New Delhi: Ever wondered what makes our politicians tick? If some prefer to dabble in the share market, some enjoy swanky cars while others indulge in artistic pursuits.

 

Road minister Kamal Nath is among those who is keen on investments in the bourses. For instance, Nath and his family have shares in over 60 companies, including DLF, Larsen & Tubro, Dish TV, HDFC, Punj Lloyd, Reliance Power and Ambuja Cement.

 

Food minister Sharad Pawar has investments in Wipro, United Spirits Limited, and Lap Finance and Consultancy. His NCP colleague and civil aviation minister Praful Patel and his family has investments in nearly 10 companies.

 

External affairs minister S M Krishna and his wife own shares in Infosys, Ranbaxy and Zee Telefilms. Steel minister Virbhadra Singh has invested in nearly 33 financial instruments.

 

On the other end of the spectrum is environment minister Jairam Ramesh who has a bank balance of only Rs 29 in one of his bank accounts. The data has been collated from information received through RTI by applicant S C Agrawal, who had asked for details of assets and liabilities of the council of ministers and their families. The PMO has recently made public over 400 pages of information relating to 2008-2009.

 

No wonder, oil minister Murli Deora is known as a long-time Gandhi family loyalist. He is a member of 11 trusts, a majority of which belongs to the Gandhi family.

 

TOP OF THE HEAP

 

A majority of the council of ministers are conservative when it comes to investment. Land and property is the choice for most. Sample this:

 

Chemicals minister and DMK leader M K Alagiri and his family have declared ownership of 22 properties in Tamil Nadu.

 

HRD minister Kapil Sibal owns 12 properties in Chandigarh, Patna, Secundarabad, Gurgaon and Faridabad.

 

Kantilal Bhuria has six properties including three houses and plots each in Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh. His wife owns seven properties.

 

MoS (petroleum and natural gas) Jitin Prasada has 10 properties in Nainital, Shajahanabad and Lucknow.

 

Housing minister Kumari Selja has eight plots of agriculture and nonagriculture land in Sonepat, Gurgaon and Faridabad in Haryana.

 

Former minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor has an apartment in New York’s Madison Avenue worth $2.4 million.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • Atul Patankar
      By Atul Patankar
      As reported by CJ SUbhash Chandra Agarwal at merinews.com
       
      THE CHIEF Justice of Delhi High Court AP Shah deserves compliments for his welcome initiative to rectify the wrong, by reviewing RTI rules at Delhi High Court which contradict the Right-To-Information Act as passed by the Parliament and given assent by the President of India. It is regrettable that the then competent authority at Delhi High Court allowed such rules which could even be tantamount to contempt of Parliament.
       
      Administrative action is needed against those responsible for framing such rules at Delhi High Court which deprived users of the RTI Act from seeking information from Delhi High Court.
       
      Observations by Justice AP Shah pleading for replacing the oath of secrecy into an oath of transparency making the judicial system accountable and transparent are worth appreciating. It is regretted that a judge with such noble thoughts could not be elevated to the Apex Court despite intervention by the Prime Minister’s Office. He has rightly observed the highlights of RTI Act in a judicial system like a check towards filing of false affidavits
       
      Source : Delhi HC reviewing RTI rules
    • Atul Patankar
      By Atul Patankar
      As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 13 March 2009
       
      NEW DELHI: Should the assets of ministers and their kin be available for public scrutiny? The Central Information Commission (CIC) will take up the issue for consideration on Friday.
       
      The controversial matter comes at a time when the Delhi High Court has overturned the CIC order for assets of judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts to be made public.
       
      Applicant Subhash Chandra Agarwal had demanded information related to the assets owned by Union ministers and their kin in the past two years.
       
      Incidentally, the Prime Minister's Office had initially forwarded the application to the cabinet secretariat asking for information to be disclosed. In his appeal, Agarwal pointed out that in a letter on May 19, 2008, the PMO had provided details of assets and liabilities of Union ministers to cabinet secretariat to deal with such RTI applications. However, Agarwal was later informed by the PMO that the information sought was exempt under section 8 of the RTI Act.
       
      After six months, PMO in a letter dated December 17, 2008, told Agarwal that the information sought could not be provided as it was exempt under the RTI Act. The PMO sought exemption under clauses 8(1)(e) and 8(1)(j) which relate to immunity granted to "documents fiduciary relationship" and "Cabinet documents" under the RTI Act.
       
      Source: CIC to take up issue of making public assets of ministers & kin-India-The Times of India

Announcements



×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use & Privacy Policy