Refuses to put system in place to probe disproportionate jump in assets.
New Delhi: In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court on Friday held that candidates and their family members must disclose source of their income at the time of filing nomination to contest an Assembly or parliamentary election.
The court said accumulation of wealth in the hands of elected representatives without any known or by questionable sources of income paves way for the rule of mafia substituting the rule of law.
Giving this ruling on a PIL filed by NGO Lok Prahari, a bench of Justices J. Chelameswar and Abdul Nazeer also held that non-disclosure of source of income would amount to a “corrupt practice” and “undue influence” warranting disqualification. The court directed the Union government to amend the relevant rules under the Representation of People Act requiring candidates and their associates to declare their sources of income.
“In our opinion, such information would certainly be relevant and necessary for a voter to make an appropriate choice at the time of the election whether to vote or not in favour of a particular candidate,” the court said.
Justice Chelameswar said if assets of a legislator or his/her associates increase without bearing any relationship to their known sources of income, the only logical inference that can be drawn is that there is some abuse of the legislator’s Constitutional office, something which should be fundamentally unacceptable in any civilised society and antithetical to a constitutional government. It is a phenomenon inconsistent with the principle of the rule of law and a universally accepted code of conduct expected of the holder of a public office in a constitutional democracy. Cromwell declared that such people are “enemies to all good governments”.
On the petitioner seeking a direction for establishment of a permanent mechanism to inquire or investigate into the disproportionate increase in the assets of legislators during their tenure as legislators, the bench said it is the exclusive domain of the Parliament.