216 MLAs continue to flout the rules which demand declaration of assets and liabilities. Yet they are the ones who preach the need to abide by the rules.
“As per Rule 364 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Andhra Pradesh Legislature, every member should declare his/her assets and liabilities to the Speaker within 30 days from taking oath and thereafter shall declare only whenever there is a change in his/her assets and liabilities before 31st of the next July while in office and such declaration shall be treated as a public document.”
This is the directive written proudly on the official website of the AP Assembly, www.aplegislature.org. But click on the link; it leads to a blank page that says “Page under Construction.” Postnoon did some digging and found out interesting facts behind the whole issue.
Public representatives, who always boast of the importance of transparency in public life, don’t seem to be following it themselves. MLAs are violating existing Assembly rules when it comes to declaring their personal assets and liabilities. As per clause 364 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, every MLA should declare his/her assets and liabilities before July 31 of every year. But the fact is that only a few MLAs have adhered to this directive. Since the formation of the 13th Assembly after the general elections in 2009, majority of the MLAs did not care to abide by this rule. If we look at the status this year, only 79 MLAs have submitted the details of their assets and liabilities for the current year (2012) as of September 18. This means that a total of 216 MLAs are yet to declare their properties. Last year, the number of MLAs who declared the details of their assets and liabilities stood at a mere 23, which is even more shocking.
The reason for the increase seems to be a directive from Assembly Speaker Nadendla Manohar in the wake of launching a brand new website for the Assembly two months ago. Before the launch, the Speaker had declared that he would host the details of properties owned by all the members of the House on the website and requested members to declare their assets and liabilities.
The directive of the Speaker did have some impact, but not much. This has forced the Assembly authorities to keep the web link of assets and liabilities on the official website blank. “We could not host the details of the properties owned by the members following poor response from them. As per the directions of the Speaker, we have extended the deadline till the end of this month and requested all the members to submit their property details before the deadline,” Assembly secretary Rajasadharam told Postnoon Wednesday. He said once they receive the details from MLAs, they would post the same on the website.
The official Assembly records for 2011, which are on display in the Assembly library, revealed that only 23 MLAs submitted the details of their assets and liabilities. The list of these MLAs included Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu, BJP state president G Kishan Reddy, Loksatta president Jayaprakash Narayan and 10 cabinet ministers. Among the cabinet ministers, K Jana Reddy, Dr J Geeta Reddy, V Vasanth Kumar, K Parthasarathy, G Aruna Kumari and K Lakshminarayana are some who declared their properties by adhering to the rule.
Interestingly, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, home minister P Sabita Indira Reddy and scores of ministers do not figure in last year’s records.