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Saturday, April 23, 2016

HC asks Centre if last date for filing returns can be relaxed for civil servants

The Allahabad High Court has asked the Central government to clarify within four weeks whether it has powers to extend or relax the date for submission of annual returns of assets and liabilities of the Central government employees, including IAS and IPS officers under the Lokpal and the Lokayukta Act.

Rule making power

“We are of the view that it is necessary for the court to be apprised of the position of the Union Government on whether the period which has been prescribed statutorily under Section 44 (4) can be relaxed or extended by means of the rule making power,” said the Lucknow bench of the High Court.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Dhananjay Yashwant Chandrachud and Justice Rajan Roy directed the Central government to file a counter affidavit (reply) within four weeks in this matter.

IPS officer’s petition

The directive came on a petition filed by suspended IPS officer Amitabh Thakur who raised the issue that the last date for filing annual property returns by public servants was extended again and again.

Quoting various provisions of section 44 of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013, the petitioner said every public servant is supposed to provide the property returns of himself along with his spouse and family members by 31st July every year.

He sought direction for the Central government to explain on what basis it extended the last date of submission of annual assets return.

Extended six times

The petitioner alleged that the last date for 2013-14 has been extended six times and that for 2014-15 has been extended 3 times and recently it was extended once again on 12 April 2016 for the same, which was improper.

The court fixed May 18 as the next date of hearing the matter. - PTI
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