Candidates must disclose source of income: Plea in SC

The Asian Age.  | J. Venkatesan

India, All India

However, their assets seemed to have gone up by 5-10 times, the petitioner said.

Supreme Court of India (Photo: File)

New Delhi: Candidates contesting Assembly and parliamentary elections must not only disclose the income, including that of family members, but also the source from where such income is derived, the counsel argued in the Supreme Court on Tuesday. 

A bench of Justices J. Chelameswar and S.A. Abdul Nazeer is hearing the petition filed by an NGO, Lok Prahari, that the present practice of candidates filing an affidavit disclosing their income must also give information about the source of income of the candidate and his/her spouse and dependants.

S.N. Shukla, founder of the NGO, said the apex court had earlier directed that candidates should disclose their income with a view to maintaining purity in elections and in accordance with the intentions of the founding fathers of the Constitution. He said this information should include information regarding the source of income. It also pleaded that candidates should declare whether they or their spouses/dependants have any subsisting contracts with the government or a public company or any share or interest in a private company.

He also asked for a direction to Parliament to consider amending the law to disqualify a legislator if he has a share or interest in a firm that enters into a business contract with the government or a public company. He pointed out that 113 members of Parliament (MPs) had shown themselves as social activists or housewives or those without any adequate source of income. 

However, their assets seemed to have gone up by 5-10 times, the petitioner said. “How is that possible? The source must be declared to enable the voters to decide whether the wealth acquired by the candidate is legitimate or not,” Mr Shukla told the bench.