Many MLAs ignore asset rules

After 15 months of the AP Legislature website was launch, legislators are yet to declare their assets and liabilities.
Hyderabad: Legislators are not obliging the requests of the Assembly Ethics Committee to provide updated details of their assets and liabilities under Rules of the AP Legislative Assembly. This is despite continuous requests and personal letters, being written to the legislators, over the past two years.
The AP Legislature website was launched amid a lot of fanfare by Speaker Nadendla Manohar, in July last year. He had then said that the assets and liabilities of all members of the Houses will be uploaded and available to public within 15 days. But it has been more than 15 months and the page is still under construction.
Rule 364 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in AP Legislature states that, “Every member should declare his/her assets and liabilities to the Speaker within 30 days from taking of oath and thereafter shall declare only whenever there is a change in his/her assets and liabilities before July 31 next, while in office such declaration shall be treated as a public document.”
Members and candidates file affidavits of their assets and liabilities with the Election Commission of India at the time of elections. But they should also be submitted to the Speaker and updated each year, according to the appreciation or depreciation in assets.
The Ethics Committee of the Assembly said efforts to get members to comply has been on, since a couple of years, but they are not forthcoming.
B. Satyananda Rao, chairman, Assembly Committee on Ethics, said, “Since two years we have been trying to get members to declare their assets to the Committee, but there is no response. We have sent many requests and even personal letters have also been written.”
While some MLAs and MLCs have provided most current details of assets, Legislature Secretariat officials said they can’t upload them for public viewing unless everyone complies.
“There is no compliance at all. Some have given details, but most don’t even respond,”?a Legislature Secretariat official said.
Satyananda Rao also said that MLAs and MLCs can’t be cornered for not providing their assets’ details. “The problem is that it is only a moral obligation. The rules are formed by members themse-lves. And there is nothing one can do if members don’t comply. They have to think of it as a moral obligation,”?he said.
The ePetition System, in the website, wherein any person can send in a petition to his local MLA, through the legislature website, is also dysfunctional. Officials said they will check and correct it.
( Source : dc )
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