Why no system to track abnormal rise in poll contestants’ assets: SC to Centre

File picture of Supreme Court of India. | Picture: PTI

New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Centre to respond to a plea stating that it has failed to put in place a permanent machinery to track the “unnatural increase” in assets of candidates as directed by the top court in February 2018.

The SC bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna also sought response from the Centre on the non-compliance of the top court direction that the non-disclosure of assets and sources of income by a candidate will amount to undue influence within the meaning of Section 123(2) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

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The SC also asked why the Form 26, which every candidate is required to fill, does not contain a declaration by the candidate that he/she does not suffer from disqualification under any provision of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

The top court in its February 16, 2018 judgment had said: “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 in favour of a particular candidate.”

The court, while not issuing notice on the contempt plea filed by the NGO Lok Prahari, directed the Secretary of the Legislative Department, government of India, to file his reply within two weeks.

The Lok Prahari in its contempt plea contended that the three directions, besides others, issued by the top court on February 16, 2018 have not been complied with.