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January 05, 2017

Plea For Disclosure Of Income Sources By Candidates For Parliamentary And Assembly Elections: SC


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A plea has been filed against the Centre and Election Commission for the disclosure of sources of income by candidates for parliamentary and assembly elections.

Citing instances of exponential increase in assets held by lawmakers in just five years, petitioner Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said that the assets of four sitting Lok Sabha members had increased by 1,200%. There was 500% increase in assets of 22 other Lok Sabha members.

The petitioner also stated that Rajya Sabha member Anil Madhav Dave declared an asset growth of over 2,100%. The ADR cited the example of an Assam state legislator with declared increase of over 5,000% in his assets. In the case of another legislator from Kerala, the increase in assets is over 1,700% since the 2011 assembly elections.

The ADR, in its application to be impleaded as co-petitioner in a previous plea filed by Lucknow-based NGO Lok Prahari, contended that several people filing self-attested affidavits on their assets were not disclosing details of Income Tax returns

The petitioner said that an analysis of assets declared during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and 2016 Rajya Sabha elections as well as elections to Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala, Assam, and West Bengal assemblies revealed "abnormal increase" in assets of many members of Parliament and assemblies.

On July 19, 2016, the Supreme Court issued notices to the Centre and Election Commission on a plea by Prahari that candidates should disclose sources of income and whether they hold stakes in entities with business transactions with the government.

Prahari informed the court that candidates filing nomination papers were disclosing their assets and those of their spouse, children, and other dependents but not sources of income through which they came to possess these.

The NGO said that some lawmakers were thriving on easy money, and of the 542 Lok Sabha members, 113 have described their profession as housewife, social worker, social service, and politics.

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