Candidates contesting polls will now have to disclose their sources of income and that of their family members. The Supreme Court on Friday allowed a petition filed by NGO Lok Prahari which sought a direction to this effect. The landmark order is intended to bring in more transparency in the poll process and comes ahead of elections scheduled to several states. So far, candidates only needed to reveal their income, not the sources.
S N Shukla, the general secretary of the NGO, had contended that candidates while filing their nomination papers, declare their assets, assets of their spouse, children and other dependents, but they do not reveal the sources of income. He sought a direction to include a column in the nomination form to list details of a candidate’s sources of income.
During the hearing, the Central Board of Direct Taxes had told the court in an affidavit that a “prima facie verification” of election affidavits of MPs and MLAs by the Director General of Income Tax has “indicated discrepancies” in income disclosure made by seven Lok Sabha MPs and 98 MLAs, the Supreme Court was told on Monday.
This came in response to a direction by the court seeking details of action initiated against lawmakers, some of whose assets had seen a quantum jump between two elections.
The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) that works for electoral reforms and was a party in the matter, assets of four current Lok Sabha MPs had increased by 12 times while 22 others declared five-fold increase in their assets.