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A Right to Information (RTI) query has put forth a startling revelation that 503 out of 543 Lok Sabha members of parliament from the Lok Sabha have not furnished details of their assets and liabilities after being elected in the May 2019 parliamentary elections. According to Lok Sabha Declaration of Asset Rules 2004, members have to declare their property details within 90 days of their election.
The list of ministers includes Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Rajnath Singh, Prakash Javadekar, Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan among others. Among the Opposition leaders, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor, Farooq Abdullah, Akhilesh Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav are the ones who have not furnished details of their assets and liabilities.
The RTI query was filed by Kashipur-based activist Nadimuddin who had sought details of MPs in both the upper and lower houses of parliament regarding their asset declaration. He had filed the RTI online on October 24, 2019 and received the reply on December 10, 2019.
In its reply, the Lok Sabha secretariat stated that till December 10, 2019, 503 MPs hadn’t furnished their property details. Only 36 MPs including Prime Minister Narendra modi, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank had submitted the requisite information. Of these, 25 belong to the Bharatiya Janata Party, 8 to the All India Trinamool Congress and 1 each to Biju Janata Dal, AIADMK and Shiv Sena.
No MP from the India National Congress has furnished requisite details.
According to Rule 3 of the Members of Lok Sabha (Declaration of Assets and Liabilities) Rules, 2004, every elected candidate for the House of the People shall, within ninety days from the date on which he makes and subscribes an oath or affirmation for taking his seat, furnish details of the movable and immovable property of which he, his spouse and his dependent children are jointly or severally owners or beneficiaries, his liabilities to any public financial institution and his liabilities to the Central or State Governments.
Speaking to The Times of India Nadimuddin said, “I’d asked for details of those MPs who haven’t taken oath yet, as well as details of assets and liabilities furnished by them after they took the oath of office and secrecy.”
“Both ruling and Opposition parties talk of transparency, but they are nowhere close to practicing it. The rule is very clear that details should be given mandatorily, but no one seems to be bothered about it,” he added.
He also told The New Indian Express, “Our lawmakers should realize that their conduct in every aspect holds importance. Only talks of transparency will not help. They should walk the talk and then only people will be able to put their faith in them.”