SC:Those standing in elections must reveal their source of income

Team SoOLEGAL 17 Feb 2018 2:34pm

SC:Those standing in elections must reveal their source of income

New Delhi : In a landmark judgement delivered by SC bench led by Justice J Chamleshwar on a PIL filed by NGO  Lok Prahari on the exponential rise of assets of candidate elected to parliament or State assemblies ,the SC 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 kin.

The judgment, observed that “manifold and undue accretion of assets” by legislators or their associates by itself becomes a good ground for disqualification.

Justice Chelameswar  opined “Gold is their God! They (legislators) are deputed by the people to get grievances redressed. But they become the grievance. ”

The court declared that candidates contesting in elections and their associates are to declare their assets and source of income at the time of nomination.The citizen under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution have a right to know the assets and the source of income of the standing candidate.And this  needs no statutory sanction from the government or the Parliament.

The bench further observed that “undue accretion of assets” on its own is a ground for disqualifying an MP or an MLA. Amassing wealth through corrupt means is a “culpable offence” by itself and a law maker can be prosecuted even without charging him for offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The court further stated if legislators continue with amassment of unaccounted wealth it will lead to  failure of democracy.

The court said India as a “Socialist Republic” believes in the distribution of material resources and not in the concentration of wealth.

Any increase without commensurate increase in known sources of income points to some abuse.The court also drew attention to  how legislators use their position to secure loans from nationalised banks which turn into NPAs.

If the assets of a legislator increases without bearing any relationship to their known sources of income, the only logical inference that can be drawn is that there is some abuse. The court pointed out about.

Justice Chelameswar also observed that MLAs and MPs who face investigation for possessing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income always tend to bounce back to power.

The Bench had suggested that the government should notify ,special fast-track criminal courts to try MPs and MLAs in corruption cases.

During the hearings  the Centre provided details of probe into the assets of 26 Lok Sabha MPs, 215 MLAs and two Rajya Sabha MPs in a sealed cover to court.

In an affidavit, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had informed the court that 98 MLAs and seven Lok Sabha MPs are under investigation primafacie for discrepancy between their assets and declared sources of income. Investigation into the assets of 42 MLAs and nine Rajya Sabha MPs is still pending.

The CBDT's investigation covered a list of 26 Lok Sabha MPs, 11 Rajya Sabha MPs and 257 MLAs.

Tagged: SC   Lok Prahari   Parliament   CBDT  
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