The Supreme Court has held that a candidate can be disqualified if he or she fails to disclose information about assets held by spouse and dependent children. A bench of justice SS Nijjar and justice AK Sikri said that non-disclosure would amount to non-compliance of Election Commission rules to reveal requisite information in the affidavits to be filed along with their nomination papers.
“… the citizens have fundamental right under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India to know about the candidates contesting the elections and this is the primary reason that casts a solemn obligation on these candidates to furnish information regarding the criminal antecedents, educational qualifications and assets held by the candidate, his spouse and dependent children,” the bench held.
It is on that basis that not only EC has issued guidelines, but also prepared formats in which the affidavits are to be filed, the court said.
Earlier, the SC had declared “Right to Know your Candidate” a fundamental right, holding that filing of affidavit with blank particulars would render the affidavit void.
SC affirmed the findings of the Bombay HC on an appeal by Kisan Shankar Kathore who won the assembly elections from Ambernath constituency in 2004. His election was challenged on two grounds — one for his failure to disclose assets held by his wife and the other for not declaring the dues he owed towards the Maharashtra State Electricity Board. The Bombay HC had declared Kathore disqualified on both grounds.
The apex court, however, did not uphold the HC decision with regard to electricity dues. But he was found guilty of non-disclosure of the vehicle owned by his wife, a bungalow in her name and a firm in which she was a partner.