Declaration of Assets under Lokpal Act – Last Date may be extended
Declaration of Assets and Liabilities under Lokpal Act – Last Date may be extended as Lokpal and Lokayuktas Amendment Bill 2014 is pending before Parliament
DOPT has recently issued two office Memorandums requiring all Central Government Employees to file return under Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013 for declaring the assets and liabilities of employees, their spouse and children.
Earlier, last date for filing this return of assets and liabilities has been extended five times.
As per Section 44 of Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013 a public servant has to declare the details of assets and liabilities owned by him/her, his/her spouse and dependent children, or assets for which they are beneficiaries.
It may be recalled that a parliamentary committee was formed by the Govt on the basis of apprehensions of Central Government Employees and other pubic servants with regard to safety / security of the family members, since Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013 requires that details of assets and liabilities of public servants and his / her family members are to be displayed in a pubic domain.
Parliamentary committee submitted its report in Nov-Dec 2015. With respect to Section 44 of Lokpal Act, the Parliamentary Committee sought opinions and suggestions from various quarters including Staff Side. A brief of its recommendations with respect to Section 44 is as follows
“In today’s world considering the increasing avenues available .. spouses and children have independent sources of income. In such a scenario compelling declaration of assets acquired by spouse or children of a public servant is violative of right to privacy and Article 14 of the Constitution. Further family members are under no obligation to disclose their assets to the the Government and therefore any exercise of compelling compelling a public servant to declare assets of his / her family members independently acquired by them would turn out to be futility”
On the basis of its recommendations Govt has tabled Lokpal and Lokayuktas Amendment Bill 2014.
As per this amendment bill, details of Immovable assets acquired by the public servant whether in his name or in the name of any family members are to be declared. As far as Movable assets are concerned, only the details of movable assets of public servant are to be declared
Amendment proposed in Lokpal and Lokayuktas Amendment Bill 2014 (Clause 6 with respect to Section 44)
“A public servant shall, within a period of thirty days from the date on which he makes and subscribes an oath or affirmation to enter upon his office, furnish to the competent authority the information relating to— (a) all his assets, including— (i) immovable property owned by him, or inherited or acquired by him or held by him on lease or mortgage, either in his own name or in the name of any member of his family or in the name of any other person; (ii) movable property inherited by him or similarly owned, acquired or held by him; (b) all his debts and other liabilities, incurred by him directly or indirectly”
As per prsindia.org, which is an authentic news cum information site on parliament activities, Lokpal and Lokayuktas Amendment Bill 2014 is pending before Lok Sabha.
As per the amendment proposed by Govt, it could be found that Govt has decided not to impose the condition of declaring the assets and liabilities of spouse and children independently acquired by them on Government Servants.
Hence, the requirement imposed by DOPT in its Office Memorandums dated 28.03.2016 and 02.04.2016, for filing return under lokpal Act by Central Government Employees including the information relating to their Spouse and children now, while Lokpal and Lokayuktas Amendment Bill 2014 is pending before Parliament, defeats the very purpose of amendment proposed by the Government in the bill.
Also, in the event of the said amendment bill gets passed, the present format prescribed by Govt for declaring the assets and liabilities under Lokpal Act, which includes the details of spouse and children, has to be modified. In that case, return obtained from Central Government Employees as per DOPT Office Memorandums dated 28.03.2016 and 02.04.2016 will be of no use.
On account of these compelling reasons, there is a strong possibility that the last date for filing of return under Section 44 of Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013 may be extended which is presently fixed as 15th of April 2016.
Disclaimer / Note: It may please be noted that the above discussion is based on the Govt’s stand and present status of Lokpal and Lokayuktas Amendment Bill 2014. However, no official orders have been issued by Govt so far to extend the last date for filing return under Section 44 of Lokpal Act 2013.
The existing format prescribed by Govt for filing return under lokpal is given below in word and excel format
A walk through on the present format of Lokpal Declaration meant for Central Government Employees:
Details of the employer such as Name, Designation, Department etc and Declaration along with the signature of the employee to the effect that the return enclosed viz., Form 1 to Form IV are complete and correct to his/her knowledge.
2. Form No.1:
Form No. 1 is meant for providing the details of the employee (self), his / her spouse and dependent children. The details to be furnished in this form are
(ii). Public Position held if any
(iii). Whether return being filed by spouse and dependent children separately
3. Form No. 2:
Statement of movable property (separate sheets have to be attached for spouse, and each dependent child)
This form is meant for providing the following movable property details
1. Cash and Bank Balance as on the date up to which Return is filed (as on 1st August, 2014 in the case of first return to be filed on or before 15th October 2015)
2. Investments made in Insurance Fund (premia paid as on date), Fixed and Recurring Bank Deposits, Shares, Bonds, Mutual funds, Pension fund, Provident Fund and any other investments of this nature as on the date up to which return is filed.
3. Personal Loans and advances given to any person or entity.
4. Details of Motor vehicles such as make, registration number, year of purchase and amount paid.
5. Weight of Gold Jewellery (+/- 10 grams), Silver items (+/- 100 grams), Precious metals and Precious stones. In the case of composite items (consisting of items containing gold, silver, precious items etc) value of the same has to be provided (This value need not be changed every year unless there is an addition or deletion in the composite items)
6. Any other assets such as (a) Furniture
(d) Paintings or
(e) Electronic equipment.
Details of these asset have to provided, only if the total current value of any particular asset in any particular category (e.g. furniture, fixtures, electronic equipments, etc.) exceeds two months’ basic pay or Rs. 1.00 lakh, as the case may be.
4. Form No. 3 : Details of Immovable Property held
This form is almost similar to the Annual Property Return which has to be filed by Group A and Group B Central Government Emplyees under Conduct Rules. Details of immovable property such as land, house, flat, and shop etc held by each of persons for whom returns are filed under Lokpal, will have to be provided in this Form.
5. Form No. 4 : Details of Debts and Liabilities
- Central Government Employees will have to provide details of Debts and Liabilities held in his / her name as well in the name of spouse, and dependent childen.
- Individual items of loans not exceeding two months basic pay (where applicable) and Rs. 1.00 lakh in other cases need not be included in this form.
- Types of loans and liabilities taken from banks, Central / State govt and other entities will have be mentioned in this form.