Twenty-eight lawmakers, fourteen of them from the Congress, have voluntarily made public their Income Tax (I-T)returns a day before a petition is to be heard by the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) on making it compulsory for all MPs and MLAs to do so.
Ambika Soni, Vilas Muttemwar, Subodhkant Sahay and Anu Aga are among those who have publicised their I-T returns. Legislators of several parties have ignored the request.
There have already been two hearings with the CIC based on an appeal filed by Association for Democratic Reforms, an NGO working on electoral reforms, to release copies of 42 lawmakers’ I-T returns for larger public interest. The logic the NGO offers is that these I-T returns can be analysed to find inordinate growth curves during the periods the individuals spend in Parliament or state Assemblies.
The NGO has submitted to the CIC a list of 42 legislators whose assets showed a disproportionate increase between two elections. A bench comprising Rajiv Mathur, M L Sharma and Annapurna Dixit is expected to hear the arguments of both sides on April 16.
The 28 legislators, who volunteered to disclose their I-T returns in the public domain by publishing it on their websites, also provided copies of their returns to ADR.
“Transparency should be there in public life. People want their elected representatives to be transparent,” Muttemwar has reportedly written in his submission.
Income-Tax returns of individuals are currently considered private information under the Right to Information Act.