It is not mandatory for ministers to attend office "at a fixed time", the cabinet secretariat has told a right to information (RTI) activist.
Dev Ashish Bhattacharya had in an RTI application asked whether it was "compulsory for each minister to attend his office?" Filed to the Prime Minister's Office on March 22, the application was transferred to the cabinet secretariat.
"There are no rules that a minister has to attend office at a fixed time," said Rajive Kumar, joint secretary and first appellate authority of the cabinet secretariat, in reply to the query.
Bhattacharya told IANS: "The above answer to the query means that Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister MK Alagiri, who were accused for staying in their home city Kolkata and Tamil Nadu and not attending office in Delhi cannot be questioned according to the rules."
"I filed this application as I started wondering why some ministers are never seen in their offices and if there is any rule to ensure that they do," the RTI activist said.
"When ministers can draw hefty salaries and perks from the government, why can’t they be present in office to look after their ministry work?" he asked.
"The monsoon session of parliament would commence on July 26...let's see how many ministers will attend or skip the sessions, as the rule allows," Bhattacharya added.