The decision comes close on the heels of a suggestion from the Central Information Commission that it was for the President of India to take a call on placing her and her family's property details in public domain. "The President of India is not required to declare his/her assets to any public authority. However, President Patil will declare it," Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson Archana Dutta said on Saturday.
She declined to comment on whether Patil's family members would also be declaring their assets and said she was authorised to speak only on behalf of the president. Asked when would the assets would be made public, the spokesperson said, "Soon".
Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi had earlier this week said he had no powers under the Right To Information act to pass any direction asking the president to declare her assets. "The commission cannot pass any direction in this regard, as it does not come within the commission's powers as mandated under the RTI Act. Now that various functionaries like ministers, judges and information commissioners have voluntarily put up details of their assets on website, it is for the President to take a decision on this matter," he had said.
Rashtrapati Bhavan officials, however, maintained that Patil's decision has nothing to do with the CIC suggestion and she wanted to disclose assets on her own accord. Earlier this month, the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had reminded the ministers about the annual declaration of assets and business interests along with that of their spouses.