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SC Goads Government To Disclose Information About Inquiries Against MPs Who Amassed Disproportionate Wealth

LiveLaw News Network
6 Sep 2017 4:50 PM GMT
SC Goads Government To Disclose Information About Inquiries Against MPs Who Amassed Disproportionate Wealth
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The Supreme Court bench of Justices J.Chelameswar and S.Abdul Nazeer today directed the Central Government to file a fresh affidavit with information about the results of inquiry by Central Board of Direct Taxes against Members of Parliament who amassed disproportionate wealth.  The direction was issued when the bench expressed its dissatisfaction with the vague affidavit filed by the...

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The Supreme Court bench of Justices J.Chelameswar and S.Abdul Nazeer today directed the Central Government to file a fresh affidavit with information about the results of inquiry by Central Board of Direct Taxes against Members of Parliament who amassed disproportionate wealth.  The direction was issued when the bench expressed its dissatisfaction with the vague affidavit filed by the Centre’s counsel, in the ongoing hearing of the petition filed by the NGO, Lok Prahari, seeking accountability of legislators, and electoral reform.

Earlier, the  Centre assured the Supreme Court that it would amend within three months, Form 26 of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, used by the candidates contesting assembly and Lok Sabha elections, to file affidavits along with nomination papers, before the returning officers.  The amendment has been recommended by the Election Commission, following a Public Interest Litigation petition filed by Lok Prahari, in the Supreme Court seeking information about the source of income of the candidates, their spouses, and dependents.

S.N.Shukla, the founder of Lok Prahari, who appears in person in this case, has also sought a declaration whether the candidates or their spouses/dependents have any subsisting contracts with the government or a public company or any share or interest in a private company.  His other prayers direction to Parliament to amend 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.

According to him, 113 MPs had shown themselves as social activists or housewives or those without any adequate source of income.  But their assets seemed to have gone up by five to 10 times.   The Association for Democratic Reforms, which is an intervener in this case, has found that assets of four current Lok Sabha MPs have increased by 12 times while 22 others declared five-fold increase in their assets.

The Central Government’s counsel, K.Radhakrishnan, who began his submissions in the case today, told the bench of Justices J.Chelameswar and S.Abdul Nazeer, that the affidavit filed by the Central Board Of Direct Taxes was a testimony to the Government’s intention to cleanse the system.  The bench, however, asked Radhakrishnan to disclose the action taken by the CBDT in this regard, and if necessary, provide information the CBDT inquiry in a sealed cover.   The Centre has been directed to file a fresh affidavit, disclosing this by September 12.

The Election Commission, which supports the prayers of the petitioner in this case, however, was grilled by the bench on Tuesday, for its failure to collate data from all constituencies for the 2014 Lok Sabha election, regarding the campaign expenditure of the candidates.

The Centre will continue its submissions in the case on Thursday.

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