Govt to SC: Will amend election rules to make candidates declare income sources
Candidates contesting elections will now have to declare his/her sources of income along with those of his or her spouse and dependents at the time of filing nomination papers.india Updated: Apr 10, 2017 20:24 IST
: The Centre has agreed to amend the Conduct of Election Rules to make it mandatory for a candidate contesting elections to declare his/her sources of income along with those of his or her spouse and dependents at the time of filing nomination papers.
In an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, the Union law ministry said that after due deliberations a decision was taken to amend the rules to include a column in the nomination form where a candidate can fill in the details. But, the government has refused to accede to the demand to make furnishing of false information a ground for disqualification, saying it was for the legislature to take a call on this.
The government affidavit was filed in response to a public interest litigation initiated by a Lucknow-based NGO Lok Prahari seeking a judicial direction on the issue. A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar will hear the case on Tuesday.
The Election Commission has already supported the petitioner saying disclosure of sources of income is necessary for “healthier democracy.” Under the current law, a candidate is required to disclose details of assets and liabilities for self, spouse and three dependents in Form 26 while filing nomination paper but not the source of income.
The government informed the top court that it has also accepted the petitioner’s plea to seek a positive statement from the candidate that he or she does not suffer from the disqualification provisions under the Representation of People’s Act.
Such information would enable the voters and the returning officer to know at the earliest whether a candidate is eligible to contest elections or not.
“It is necessary to know about a candidate’s background at the beginning of the election process so that objections can be raised at the time of nomination itself,” SN Shukla of Lok Prahari told HT.
The NGO has also sought a direction to the Centre to bring an amendment in the law to disqualify a lawmaker if he has a share or interest in a firm that enters into a business contract with the government or a public company. However, the government has chosen to remain silent on this plea, saying it was a policy issue.