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Supreme Court Pulls up Govt for Inaction on Rise in Netas' Assets

The SC is hearing a PIL by NGO Lol Prahari, which has raised issues of sudden rise in assets of politicians after they win elections. It has demanded that sources of income of not just the candidate but also of their spouse and children should be made public.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:September 6, 2017, 6:28 PM IST
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Supreme Court Pulls up Govt for Inaction on Rise in Netas' Assets
File photo of the Supreme Court.
New Delhi: Deprecating the use of money power in elections, the Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the Central government for not acting against huge jump in monetary assets of politicians.

A bench led by Justice J Chelameswar questioned the “intention” of the Centre, and asked whether any investigation has ever been conducted into discrepancies of assets disclosed by the leaders in their polls affidavits and what they show in their income tax returns.

It wondered that the government on one hand talked about electoral reforms but on the other, it couldn’t furnish any date.

“Is this the attitude of the government of India? What have you done till now?” the bench questioned Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha.

It asked the ASG to submit a report by the Income Tax department on September 12 regarding investigations carried out into rise in assets of politicians.

“You say you are ready to reform the electoral system but you are not even willing to provide such basic information about elected representatives?” the court pulled the government.

As Narasimha said that the govetnment will take action, Justice Chelameswar retorted: “Please ensure it and provide data at 10.30am sharp on Tuesday. Why can’t you provide basic data? That’s the least you can do.”

It added that the government cannot be allowed to make “vague statements” in such cases. "It is a very serious case," emphasised the bench.

The SC is hearing a PIL by NGO Lol Prahari, which has raised issues of sudden rise in assets of politicians after they win elections. It has demanded that sources of income of not just the candidate but also of their spouse and children should be made public.

Responding to the PIL, the Election Commission has lamented the increasing role of “money power” in polls, as it sought a SC order to make it imperative for candidates to also disclose sources of their income and the income of their spouses and dependant children in their affidavits.

For the purposes of the election law, the poll panel said candidates should have the same yardsticks of uprightness that public servants are bound under service jurisprudence.

Emphasising that use of money power in polls has been posing grave dangers to the democratic polity, the Commission regretted that it had to, for the first time in India’s electoral history, rescind the notification and conduct polls afresh in two Tamil Nadu assembly seats following evidence of money being used to influence voters.

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| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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