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To monitor assets of MPs, MLAs, law may need a tweak

The Supreme Court directed the government to set up a permanent mechanism to monitor the accrual of wealth of sitting Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assemblies, their spouses and associates.

india Updated: Nov 27, 2018 09:25 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
Union Government,Members of Legislative Assemblies,Members of Parliament
Earlier, an NGO had sought the Supreme Court’s direction to make it mandatory for candidates to declare not only their income but also its source. (Sonu Mehta/HT File Photo)

Necessary amendments to the Representation of the People Act might be required to adhere to the Supreme Court’s order for monitoring assets and sources of income of the legislators and his associates, officials told HT on Monday.

A meeting comprising senior officials from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the Union government, Election Commission and representatives of state assemblies discussed this on Monday.

A bench of justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazeer passed a judgment to this effect while hearing a public interest litigation filed by Lok Prahari, a Lucknow-based NGO against corruption.

The NGO sought the top court’s direction to make it mandatory for candidates to declare not only their income but also its source. The petition highlighted the issue of a sharp rise in the assets of some politicians between two successive elections.

The apex court further directed the government to set up a permanent mechanism to monitor the accrual of wealth of sitting Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assemblies, their spouses and associates.

During the discussions, participants felt that “the implementation of the direction of the apex court may require necessary amendment in the Representation of the People Act, 1951 making such disproportionate acquisition of assets a ground for disqualification from the membership of the Legislatures,” said an official.

“It was also pointed out that this Act is applicable only to the elected MPS in respect of requiring disclosure of assets and liabilities. According to House rules, MPS need to make such declarations within 90 days of their election to Parliament,” added another official.

Even as different legislatures have rules in this regard there is no provision to ensure compliance of the same.

Besides, there is no provision requiring such periodic declaration thereafter.

“Also, there is no provision under any Act of Parliament or Rules of respective legislatures to disqualify members from the Legislatures on account of acquisition of disproportionate assets,” said another official.

First Published: Nov 27, 2018 09:07 IST